The Los Angeles Lakers will be looking to get their second win of the preseason as they get set to take on the NBA champion Golden State Warriors at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, CA. This comes after their latest outing, which was a 107-100 loss against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday. Although the Lakers are 1-4 thus far in the preseason, their record doesn’t resemble how well they’ve played in spurts. Jordan Clarkson led the way against the Kings with 17 points, as Lou Williams added 16 of his own off the bench. Williams has been the instant scorer for the second unit that the team expected him to be when they signed him in free agency. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year has scored in double figures in all five games thus far. This blended group of veterans and prospects have shown promise as Lakers star Kobe Bryant even alluded the young core as being “far ahead of the curve” in the rebuilding process.
Bryant, who is entering his 20th season after three consecutive season-ending injuries, suffered a left leg contusion during the third quarter of Tuesday’s loss that forced him to be ruled out for the rest of the game. However, besides the scare, the injury doesn’t appear to be severe, but Bryant will still not play Saturday against the Warriors for precautionary reasons.
The Warriors frontcourt consists of Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes and of course, Draymond Green, who recently signed a 5-year, $82 million deal in the off-season after helping the team win their first NBA championship in 40 years. This frontcourt is like few others seen in the league; they’re explosive, athletic, and can beat you from inside and outside with Barnes and Green able to stretch out behind the line and knock down shots. Not to mention they helped lead this defense to the best overall ranking in defensive efficiency last season. And the scariest part about this team is that they’re only getting started. Although they did bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to the Bay area, this team is still hungry with even more to prove this season.
As for Saturday night’s matchup against the Lakers, the Warriors will be without Bogut after breaking his nose in their last outing against the Houston Rockets. He’s expected to sit out at least two games and will try to play in the Warriors final preseason game next Thursday with a mask on. Barnes is also questionable to play after suffering a bone bruise in his right knee earlier in the week. He sat out Thursday night and is listed as day-to-day.
The Lakers will be going up against arguably the best backcourt in the NBA led by reigning MVP Stephen Curry and All-Star Klay Thompson. Curry, who is not just the team’s best player, but also the heart and soul of this team, has really defied all critics since being drafted by the Warriors in 2009. The two-time All-Star has really has taken the league by storm with his ability to knock down shots from anywhere on the floor and being able to split defenses apart with his crafty ball-handling skills. These two skills have allowed him to also become one of the best passers in the NBA. In his MVP season last year, Curry finished with averages of 23.8 points and 7.7 assists per game.
The other half consists of, as mentioned, Los Angeles native Klay Thompson. However, although Thompson is the second option on the team with Curry beside him, don’t take him lightly. The 2015 All-Star actually broke the NBA record for the most points made in one quarter last season (previously 33) with 37 points, where he shot a perfect 13-for-13 from the field, including 9-for-9 from beyond the arc. Like Curry, Thompson is lethal from anywhere on the floor and has learned to attack the rim better with his 6’7″ figure. He’s coming off the 2014-15 season where he averaged 21.7 points per game, shooting 43.9 percent from three.
Keys to Victory:
Limit Turnovers: This is something that is constantly repeated throughout games, but limiting turnovers is always crucial to win games. The Lakers turned the ball over 14 times on Tuesday that resulted in 21 points for the Kings. The game prior against the Maccabi Haifa, the team committed 22 turnovers besides getting the win. Although coach Byron Scott is mixing up numerous lineups before he starts cutting the roster down, the team still needs to take care of the ball better especially against a tenacious defense like Golden State’s.
Stay the Course: Besides the game against Maccabi Haifa where they led most of the way, the Lakers have struggled to win the scoring battle in the fourth quarter. This may be due to coach Scott trying out players that are fighting for a roster spot late in games, but whoever is out there needs to stay the course and continue to execute. With only three preseason games remaining, the roster is set to start trimming any day now.
One-and-Done Plays: In the five games that the Lakers have currently played, opposing teams have had double-digit offensive rebounds in each one of them. Against a high-powering offense like Golden State, the Lakers are going to have to play defensively sound for 48 minutes and limit second chance opportunities. As seen in the past, offensive rebounds usually lead to defensive breakdowns and wide-open threes for the Warriors.
Golden State Warriors (2-2) vs Los Angeles Lakers (1-4)
7:00 PM PST, October 17, 2015
Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, California
TV: TWC SportsNet / NBATV
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 (Spanish)
Warriors Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Shaun Livingston
SF: Brandon Rush
PF: Draymond Green
C: Festus Ezili
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Jordan Clarkson
SF: Anthony Brown
PF: Julius Randle
C: Roy Hibbert