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Preview: Short-handed Warriors travel south to face the Lakers

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After another catastrophic injury, an already depleted Golden State team travels to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Running out of healthy players, but not hope

Golden State Warriors guard Damion Lee suffered a non-displaced fracture on his right hand during Monday night’s game against the Utah Jazz — so now he’s out at least two weeks according to the team.

This is just another tank tread in an already voluminous injury list this season. According to Monte Poole of NBC Sports, there are only four players left on the Warriors’ roster that have yet to visit the injured reserve list: Ky Bowman, Marquese Chriss, Jordan Poole and Glenn Robinson III.

Against a Los Angeles Lakers team that is one of the very best in the league right now, it’s going to take some serious miracles from rookie Eric Paschall and ex-Laker D’Angelo Russell to get a win tonight.


GAME DETAILS

WHO: Golden State Warriors (2-9) at Los Angeles Lakers (8-2)

WHERE: Staples Center — Los Angeles, CA

WHEN: Wednesday, November 13, 2019; 7:30 PM PST

WATCH: NBC Sports Bay Area, ESPN

Blog Buddy: Silver Screen and Roll


Draymond Green’s new job

Draymond Green has always been controversial when it comes to his value on the court. His utilitarian game, ability to initiate offense and stalwart defense have endeared him to Warriors fans. But for those who haven’t closely watched him help lead a team to multiple championships, his lack of scoring and hot head are seen as detrimental. In a league where “points get paid” Green has primarily derived his offensive value from being a facilitator while still being a defensive floor general.

Now though, everything’s different. With D’Angelo Russell thriving with the ball in his hand (more on that in a moment), Green has been relegated to a screener and spot up shooter, mostly. As a stretch forward, his shot is somewhat inadequate — he’s managed just just 4 of 17 from deep, or 23.5% Sure, it’s still early in the season, but it’s clear that Green’s role will need to evolve this season given the limited roster.

But it’s not just the offense. Green, the ex-Defensive Player of the Year, prides himself not just on his personal defense, but on manning the helm on what has been one of the most reliable NBA defenses. This year, it is the antithesis of that as the Warriors are giving up an NBA-worst of nearly 117 points per 100 possessions.

As Green said after the last game though, the personnel changes are limiting his ability to help. Here’s the quote, courtesy of Anthony Slater of The Athletic:

“It all starts at the point of attack,” Green said. “You break down (up top), then everyone’s collapsing into the paint and they’re getting kickout 3s.”

“One thing we’ve been good at over the years is guarding the pick-and-roll with two guys,” Green said. “If you can guard the pick-and-roll with two guys, maybe two-and-a-half guys, you give yourself a better chance of taking 3s out the game, dunks out the game.”

You could have dropped humanity’s best mechanical engineer on the Titanic and it wouldn’t have helped. So to is Green wrestling with ways to salvage the NBA’s worst defense. Literally off the charts levels of “bad.”

Our writer’s Slack chat with a harsh reading of early defensive struggles

But we’ve got literally years of evidence that point towards Green and the Warriors figuring this out. I don’t know exactly what that looks like, but I trust the improvements to eventually come.

D’Angelo Russell returns to his old stomping grounds — can he make the Lakers pay?

Check out Russell’s scoring output in the three games since his return from injury: 52, 30 and then 33 points. He’s scoring efficiently too; 26 points per game on the season with an acceptable true shooting percentage of .569.

It’s that 52 point night that stands out the most. Even though he had to take a ton of shots to get there, it is still the sort of nice round number that grabs people’s attention. It’s been the result of a structural change in Kerr’s offense — and by the way you should definitely check out Eric Apricot’s treatise on the subject.

With Damion Lee out, the Warriors’ already barren cabinet of offensive weapons has been severely depleted.

Now, Russell will have to shoulder even more of the offense, along with other top (currently available) scorers Eric Paschall, Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III. But it’s not going to be easy against a stacked Lakers team.

LAKERS!

After dominating the league for most of my youth, getting the Red Hot Chili Peppers to write a song about them and then coming back with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, then Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom the Lakers are all the way back, baby.

Ugh.

Well, there’s really no way around it. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis, this is a fearsome team with legitimate title aspirations. They have the best defense in the league (at time of writing) and a bunch of solid role players, including newly rejuvenated Dwight Howard, and ex-Warrior fan favorites Quinn Cook and JaVale McGee.

Prediction

This is going to be a throw back game. Pick any of the previous two decades, and you have an idea where I’m going with this. A throw back loss tonight shouldn’t surprise anyone, so here’s hoping for just no more injuries please.