The Golden State Warriors head down to southern California for an in-state showdown against the loaded Los Angeles Lakers. The Warriors used to be loaded, still are I guess, if you are willing to consider the guys on the injured list. But the Lakers are legitimately loaded - to the point where the absence of superstar Anthony Davis barely moves the needle on the odds for tonight’s outcome.
Just for fun, let’s go ahead and look at the positional matchups:
Warriors have: D’Angelo Russell, Ky Bowman
Lakers have: Avery Bradley, Alex Caruso
Just on the strength of Russell here, the Warriors have the advantage at this position. But you can see the Lakers defensive prowess as a lineup priority right away. Both of these Lakers players are known primarily as hustle/defensive glue guys. But don’t sleep on Ky Bowman, though under-sized, he has been shockingly stout on defense. His low base and quick hands serve him well, and he’s not shy about sticking his nose into contact.
Warriors have: Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III, Jordan Poole
Lakers have: Lebron James, Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope
Danny Green could be a problem tonight. His offense is inconsistent, but the Warriors are likely to give up lots of really good looks from outside - which is his specialty. For the Warriors, both Robinson and Burks have been pleasant surprises. We knew coming in that they’d be ask to eat plenty of minutes on the wing, but few expected them to be as useful as they have been.
Also, watch out for that Lebron James guy. I heard he’s pretty good.
Warriors have: Willie Cauley-Stein, Draymond Green, Eric Paschall, Marquese Chriss
Lakers have: Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee
This should be one of the more entertaining positional battles to watch tonight since both sides present problems for the other. The Warriors don’t really have the personnel to combat the twin tower lineup that the Lakers are almost certainly going to deploy. Even without Anthony Davis in the mix, it’s hard to imagine the Lakers not feasting in the post.
But Golden State’s big are a bit more mobile and comfortable off the dribble so will try to spread the floor and attack the gaps. The Lakers have routinely cleaned the Warriors’ clocks this season (if you care about preseason), and it’s hard to imagine tonight going any other way.
Let’s go Warriors
As anyone who’s watched the Warriors over the past few seasons can attest, it’s not always the best teams that get a win against the elites of the NBA. Some lackluster play from a tired Lakers team playing without one of it’s foundational players - on the second game of a back-to-back no less - and the Warriors could be in this. Remember too that the Golden State have managed to look competitive recently, if they can somehow prevent those late game collapses that have become a hallmark of this season, then maybe the Warriors can indeed steal one in LA tonight.