Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Each week we ask questions of the most plugged-in Golden State Warriors fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
The Golden State Warriors play the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, in their 80th game of the season. And it’s worth remembering back to Opening Night, when the Dubs visited this same Lakers squad, in a game I said would be a barometer for them.
The Warriors won that game, and the Lakers lost it. And since then, the Warriors have gone on to win a whole lot more games — 49, to be specific. And the Lakers have gone on to lose a whole lot more games — 46, to be specific.
As such, they enter Thursday’s game in dramatically different spots. The Warriors, despite having missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, are trying to cling to the No. 3 seed. The Lakers, despite having won a championship two years ago, are in pure desperation mode, currently on the outside of the play-in tournament.
Which leads to a natural question: are you enjoying this?
Most Warriors fans hate the Lakers. There’s the whole California thing ... the Lakers and Warriors will never be rivals the way the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are, but it’s only normal for Bay Area fans to despise So Cal sports teams. There are the memories of Kobe Bryant-led Lakers squads dominating the Warriors during their most futile days, while bandwagon fans clad in purple and gold filled up Oracle Arena and every BART train deep into the night. And of course there’s LeBron James, the antagonist in the Warriors dynasty, who, despite switching jerseys, is still seen as public enemy No. 1 to much of Dub Nation.
So watching the Lakers struggle probably puts a smile on the face of many a Warrior fan. And watching the Lakers struggle after the expectations they’ve had? Well ... that’s extra special for most.
Because the Lakers were presumed by many to be great. Not to throw my esteemed and lovable colleagues under the bus, but in SB Nation’s preseason predictions article, six of eight writers predicted the Lakers to win the Western Conference (humble brag: I was one of the two dissenting votes, instead picking the Phoenix Suns to reach the NBA Finals for the second-straight year).
But here they are in the final week of the season, 16 games below .500, with the 7th-worst net rating in the league, and on the outside looking in for postseason games.
How does that feel?
Click here to vote if viewing on a mobile device.