The Lakers are back in action on Thursday night after a light practice on Tuesday, which consisted of film and a run through of the offense with the young players and NBA Veteran, Ronnie Price. Wednesday consisted of lots of 5-0 with a focus of defense and conditioning.
All players are scheduled to appear on Thursday against the Warriors except Nick Young (thumb), Ryan Kelly (hamstring), and Xavier Henry (back).
It will be a good preseason test for the Lakers as they take on the Golden State Warriors who are coming off a 112-94 victory over the Clippers on Tuesday night.
Here are your 3 things to watch!
It was refreshing (considering that there wasn’t much of it last season) to see in the first preseason game against the Denver Nuggets that the Lakers are starting to play defense and buying into Byron Scott’s style of play.
The Lakers held the Nuggets to 38.7% shooting from the field but allowed 44 free throws. Scott during practice has said that he is very happy with the defense and that the Lakers have a very physical brand of D, therefore, he’s not mad at the amount of fouls given.
He feels that the referees will get used to their style and adapt to the Lakers new physicality which we haven’t seen in a long time.
It will be interesting to see how the defense performs as they have to guard the 3 point line with the Splash Brothers in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. How will the Lakers control these two and the rest of the Warriors? Improvement game by game is key for a successful team.
2. The New Guys
It was great to see all the new guys come in and play well on Monday night. I look forward to seeing the new guys get more adapted to Byron Scott’s system and the team chemistry that is being developed throughout the team each and every day.
I would like to see all the new guys continue to be aggressive on defense as well as offense.
Rookies Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson both had good Lakers debuts on Monday and it will only get better as the season continues.
Clarkson will be looking to improve his shooting percentage after a 3-13 performance against the Nuggets. Jeremy Lin also looks to make his first field goal on Thursday as a Laker after a 0-6 performance on Monday, though he did end the game with 10 assists. It was very impressive to see him penetrating to the middle and dishing to the big men or kicking it out to the shooters on a regular basis.
Energy, Energy, Energy! With the youth that has been brought in to the team this season, this is a big key after all the conditioning Scott has put the team through. This has led the players stating that practice is actually harder than the games!
Also, look to see veteran NBA guard Ronnie Price get his opportunity to perform in front of the coaching staff and fans for the first time against the Warriors as Scott said at Wednesday’s practice that Price would get his first shot at court time on Thursday night.
3. Stay Healthy
After all, it is the preseason and the real season doesn’t start until October 28 against the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers currently have 3 guys out due to injury. Wesley Johnson did receive a knock against the Nuggets but it wasn’t serious enough to keep him out of practice on Wednesday or Thursday’s game.
Scott has announced that Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash will be playing around 20 minutes a game during the preseason, as we saw that during the game against the Nuggets. You’ll see similar rotations by coach Scott against the Warriors, but he will change it up next week in order to give players a chance with a different unit.
Last season the Lakers’ roster missed 319 games in total due to injury, so it’s a big hope that this team stays as healthy as possible in order to make a run this season.
How to Watch
The Lakers will face the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night at the Staples Center. Tip-off is set for 7:30 pm Pacific Time and the game will be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable Sportsnet and NBA TV.