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Warriors vs. Lakers Preview: This won’t be easy

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But it should be fun.

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NBA: Preseason-Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors are riding a two-game losing streak, and they’ll need their most impressive victory of the year if they want to avoid falling below .500. But on the bright side, they had three consecutive off days, which should have given them time to make some serious adjustments.

Let’s see if it works.

The deets

Who: Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers

When: 7:00 p.m. PT

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

TV: TNT (available through fuboTV)

Projected starting lineups:

Warriors: Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, James Wiseman
Lakers: Dennis Schröder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol

The story

The Warriors are a little bit of a mess. They looked flustered by the box-and-one and triangle-and-two sets that the Toronto Raptors put out to slow down Steph Curry. They looked flustered by the similar defensive schemes that the Indiana Pacers employed, which Curry called “janky.”

And then against a much lesser Denver Nuggets defense, the Warriors offense simply fell flat, despite Curry catching fire.

The rhythm is missing. The scoring outbursts from people not named Curry are missing. The cuts and screens and solid ball movement is missing.

And all the while, the defense look uninspired against Denver’s admittedly stellar offense.

Can three off days help the Warriors find some cures? Win or lose, that’s what matters in this game.

Players to watch

Warrior to watch: Steph Curry.

I was tempted to say Andrew Wiggins, since the Warriors need a big offensive night from him, and he’ll likely be guarding LeBron James for much of the game.

But instead it’s Curry. The frustration has been visible with Curry, both on the court and in his postgame media sessions, though he seemed a little happier after pouring in an efficient 35 points against the Nuggets.

Curry enjoys the bright lights. A nationally televised game, on a holiday, against LeBron James and the best team in the NBA? I expect him to show up, show out, and have a night.

Laker to watch: LeBron James.

Do I have to dignify this with an explanation? He’s still must-watch TV. He’s arguably the best player in the league, despite being in his 18th season.

He’s mesmerizing, and still capable of entirely taking a game over.

Matchup to watch: Draymond Green vs. Anthony Davis.

There aren’t many matchups in the NBA that are quite as fun as this one. When the Lakers are on offense, it’s an elite big man with three-point range and off-the-dribble handles against arguably the best and inarguably the most versatile defender in the league. When the Warriors are on offense, it’s a brilliant passer trying to capitalize on Curry’s gravity against a top tier defensive big man with length for days.

Every part of this is fun.

Keys to victory

  • Keep LeBron James and Anthony Davis from having monster nights
  • Steph Curry needs to take at least 20 shots, preferably a bit more
  • Draymond Green needs to bring more defensive energy than in Denver
  • The Warriors need at least two strong performances off the bench

This would be a big win, Dubs. Go grab it.