The Los Angeles Lakers will face off against the Golden State Warriors tonight in one of the NBA’s loudest arenas. It’ll be their second consecutive game so they’ll need to dig deep in order to come out with high energy tonight. The Warriors are aiming to secure the number one overall seed in the West and hope to play deep into the postseason. Meanwhile the Lakers are destined for the lottery and hope to hold on to their top five protected first round draft pick. Let’s jump into the analysis of tonight’s matchup.
Frontcourt: Former starter David Lee is now the odd man out and barely logs any playing time. Draymond Green has seized the power forward spot this year and has provided the Warriors with hard-nosed defense and three-point shooting ability. Green can do it all and his stat sheet proves it – he’s averaging 11.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.4 threes. He’s having a breakout year and is probably one of the NBA’s most improved players.
Harrison Barnes starts at small forward and while he has struggled with consistency this year, he has greatly improved his three-point shooting. Barnes is converting a career high 1.1 treys on 41.4 percent shooting. He’s a great role player who doesn’t have any pressure to score since the Warriors have such a prolific backcourt.
At center the Warriors start Andrew Bogut who is primarily a rim protector. He averages 1.7 blocks per game and truly anchors the Warriors defense. The Lakers won’t have to worry too much about Bogut on offense however. Often times Steve Kerr opts to go with a small lineup and plug Marreese Speights in at the five. Speights is a more gifted score than Bogut and is reliable from about fifteen feet and in.
Backcourt: Klay Thompson and Steph Curry are the most dynamic scoring backcourt duo in the NBA. Combined they are pouring in nearly 50 points per game. Curry can score from anywhere on the floor seemingly out to the halfcourt line. He’s averaging 3.4 three-pointers per game on a jaw-dropping 41.9 percent shooting. In three games against the Lakers this year Curry is averaging 27.7 points on 57.7 percent shooting and 10.3 assists. The Lakers really have no answer for Curry and they can only hope that he’s having an off night.
Thompson is a star in his own right. He’s pouring in 21.8 points and 3.1 three-pointers per game. This year he broke an NBA record and scored 37 points in a single quarter. When he’s hot, he’s nearly unstoppable so the Lakers will have to do their best to limit him if they hope to keep the game close. Thompson is also an above average defender who doesn’t really have many holes in his game.
Keys to Victory:
Perimeter Defense: If the Lakers can’t limit Thompson or Curry then the Warriors will absolutely run away with the game tonight. This could be a great test for Jordan Clarkson to practice his defense against two of the most prolific offensive players in the league. Clarkson certainly has the size and athleticism to be successful on defense, but ultimately it comes down to effort and determination.
Develop Young-ins: At this point in the season, the Lakers have conceded all hopes for this year and they’re clearly playing for the future. As such, Byron Scott should continue to give Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black ample playing time so they can develop their game. Jordan Clarkson has been training with Steve Nash and hopefully we’ll start to see the fruits of practicing with a former MVP winner.
Heading into tonight’s game, Lakers are 18-point underdogs against Warriors via Sportsbook.ag.
Los Angeles Lakers (17-48) at Golden State Warriors (52-13)
7:30 PM PST, March 16, 2015
ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
TV: TWC SN, NBA TV
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)
Warriors Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Draymond Green
PF: Harrison Barnes
C: Andrew Bogut
Key Reserves: PF: Marreese Speights SF: Andre Iguodala PG: Shaun Livingston
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Jordan Clarkson
SG: Wayne Ellington
SF: Wesley Johnson
PF: Jordan Hill
C: Tarik Black
Rookie Jordan Clarkson After Lakers Loss To New York Knicks