The Los Angeles Lakers were able to grind it out at home Tuesday night in their 95-91 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Perhaps what is even more exciting about the victory is the impact the young core had. Now, they look to carry that momentum as they head up north to visit the red-hot Golden State Warriors.
With the Warriors continuing to click on all cylinders, the Lakers will need the steady contributions from their young guys now that Kobe Bryant is expected to miss some time due to the injured Achilles.
There is no doubt that the anchor of this Golden State team is Draymond Green. In just his fourth season, the Michigan State product has established himself as one of the elite all-around power forwards in the league. Green fills virtually every important category in the stat-sheet, and is highly instrumental to the Warriors historic start to the season.
In his eleventh year out of Utah is the seven-footer Andrew Bogut. Although Bogut has seen his production fall over the years, that hasn’t necessarily a bad thing. He has filled nicely in his role as a rim protector and solid rebounder. He is also a good passer for a big man, as he is averaging over two assist per game this season.
Leading the way for the Warriors is the electrifying Steph Curry, whose unique game has taken the league by storm. Many have referred to Curry as the best player in the league and for good reason. Not only do the Warriors have the best record in the NBA, Curry is also leading the league in points per game with 29. To no surprise, he is shooting 44 percent from deep and is by far the leader in made three-pointers.
The other half to the Splash Brothers is Klay Thompson. Although he is usually given the tough assignment since he is the teams best perimeter defender, Thompson is putting together an outstanding season. He is averaging 21 points per game and is second behind Curry for most made threes, while shooting 43 percent from deep.
Keys To Victory:
Challenging Shots: The Warriors are the most efficient offense in the NBA and lead the league in points per game by a solid margin. Aside from Curry, that is in large part due the amount of great looks they get at the basket. They are shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point line. Nearly every player in their lineup is capable of shooting from the outside, so if the Lakers want to stay in this game, they will need to play balls out on defense.
Continued Bench Production: Another reason why the Warriors have been so great this season is because of how great their bench is with the likes of Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, and Shuan Livingston. Luckily, the Lakers bench came up big for them in their last outing with 35 bench points. With Russell and Randle showing signs of steady improvement, look for the young guys to be ready to shoulder more of the load on offense with the second unit.
Los Angeles Lakers (9-31) vs Golden State Warriors (36-3)
7:30 PM January 13, 2016
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Radio: 710 ESPN (English)/ 1330 (Spanish)
Warriors Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Steph Curry
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Brandon Rush
PF: Draymond Green
C: Andrew Bogut
Key Reserves: SF Andre Iguodala, SF Harrison Barnes, PG Shaun Livingston
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Jordan Clarkson
SG: Lou Williams
SF: Kobe Bryant
PF: Larry Nance Jr.
C: Roy Hibbert
Key Reserves: PG D’Angelo Russell, PF Julius Randle, PF Brandon Bass