WHEN: Tuesday, December 25th at 5:00 p.m. PST
WHERE: Oracle Arena — Oakland, California
LISTEN: 95.7 The Game
BUDDY BLOG: Silver Screen and Roll
Injuries: JaVale McGee (pneumonia) questionable, Tyson Chandler (back) questionable, DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles rehab) out
The reigning, defending, back-to-back champion Golden State Warriors will be making their fourth consecutive primetime appearance on Christmas Day.
This holiday season, the Warriors will welcome LeBron James back to Oracle, except this time he’s bringing a new band of merry marauders. That’s right folks, the Warriors incinerated the Cavaliers and LeBron abandoned the flaming wreckage to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
The world will now see a clash of “Old Dynasty vs New Dynasty”, “SoCal vs the Bay”, and “LeBron vs the Splash Administration”.
To Live and Die in LA
There are only two things you can guarantee about the Lakers on a nightly basis: LeBron James’ stat-stuffing and Hollywood drama. James is averaging 27pts/8rebs/7ast this season with the same repetitive nonchalance of my hand bringing a mug of brandy and eggnog to my lips while listening to “Here Comes Santa Clause”. This man is unreal.
LeBron James finished with a team-high 22 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists tonight against Memphis. pic.twitter.com/mwSdoNabjL— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 24, 2018
Meanwhile, the Lakers have stayed in the news with headlines they probably would have rather gone without.
- The Lakers engage in a brawl with the Rockets and are penalized for multiple suspensions.
- Magic Johnson lays into head coach Luke Walton for club’s poor performance despite preaching patience to start the season.
- LeBron declares “I suck from the free throw line right now” after missing clutch free throws repeatedly, drawing ire from Lakers fans who witnessed Kobe make two free throws on a torn Achilles tendon.
- LeBron bristles at chiding from Magic and Kobe that he’s playing too many minutes.
Is anyone else getting the weird feeling that there’s a large contingent of Lakers fans who are grateful to LeBron for bringing them back to relevance, but stand ready at all times to throw him into the “Not Good Enough To Be A True Laker” doghouse for any failure?
Anyways, this team already had roster concerns in trying to mesh a youthful group of precocious prodigies like Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart,and Lonzo Ball with old war dogs like Rajon Rondo, Tyson Chandler, JaVale McGee, and Lance Stephenson. So far, LeBron’s starpower has been enough to pull the Lakers to a 19-14 record, good enough for 4th in the stacked Western Conference despite Los Angeles being riddled with injuries.
We’re two months into the season and we still don’t quite know what the Lakers are. At their best, this team is chock full of long, versatile athletes who crank up a dizzying fastbreak pace and move the ball in the spirit of the “Showtime” Lakers. They are ranked 2nd in the NBA in fastbreak points at 20.3 per game, and have the 4th fastest pace in the league.
At their worst, they are a team of non-shooters in the era where shooting is the most vaunted skill. They rank 16th in attempts from beyond the arc, and 20th in percentage from downtown (34.5%). Kuzma, Ball, and Ingram are all hovering around 30% from the arc. Ball in particular struggled in the Lakers last game, a loss to the Grizzlies.
Lonzo Ball missed all seven of his 3-point attempts tonight. Per @bball_ref that is the most attempts of his career without a make. It was the seventh time in his career he went 0-fer when shooting at least five 3s. https://t.co/OduH5rWk2Q— Bill Oram (@billoram) December 24, 2018
Lebron on the other hand, appears to have been inspired by all of the triples the Dubs have drilled in his face over the years and is showing off the deep range.
Meanwhile in the Golden Empire...
The Warriors are looking forward to seeing the new look Lakers. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are both on hot streaks, evidenced by the way they went “Double Dragons” mode on the other L.A. team on Sunday night.
Clippers go 18/23 on 3s, but Warriors dragged to a 129-127 win by their MVP duo— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 24, 2018
-Steph Curry: 42 points, 12/22 FG, six 3s, 12/13 FT, game-winning layup
-Kevin Durant: 35 points, 10/19 FG, 12/15 FT, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks
Curry and Durant have been the only two men to truly make LeBron fans sweat over “Best Player in the World” status since the King left Miami.
Per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN: “We’ve seen him (Lebron) a lot over the last four years,” Curry said after scoring 42 points to help lift the Warriors to a 129-127 win over the Clippers. “It’ll be a fun atmosphere. Played him and his team on Christmas I think the last four years, including this year.
“It’ll be a fun atmosphere, a fun game [with a] Bay Area and Southern California vibe kind of reignited a little bit so it should be fun.”
The Warriors won 2 out of the last 3 Christmas Day contests, and each game went down to the wire. The champs are currently on a seven game winning streak against the Lakers, but the last couple did not come easy against the young Lake Show.
Now that LeBron is in the fold, I anticipate this game being a hotly contested battle well into the fourth quarter.
Gold-Blooded Prediction: LeBron shines, but the Warriors four All-Stars do enough to hand Los Angeles a Christmas L.
Warriors 118, Lakers 110
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM US AT GOLDEN STATE OF MIND!