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Lakers (1-0) vs. Warriors (0-0) Game Preview – 10/30/13
The Lakers will be hoping to carry over some of their opening night momentum into the second half of a back-to-back against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
After blowing out the Clippers in a stunning 116-103 season opening victory (the purple and gold lead by 17 points at one point during the fourth quarter) the Lakers are faced with the prospect of taking on a rested and eager team up in Oakland less than 24 hours later.
However, the Lakers should be fairly rested too – the most minutes played by any Laker was 27 for Jordan Farmar – and sometimes rest brings rust along with it.
With Steve Nash’s status currently up in the air for tonight’s game, Mike D’Antoni will likely feel comforted by Farmar’s performance last night: The two-time champion scored 16 points and had 6 assists while closing out the game with the rest of the bench mob. The ex-UCLA guard made some great decisions down the stretch, too.
While Xavier Henry was the star of the show last night with his career-high 22 points in 26 minutes, Jordan Hill played a key role in the fourth quarter as he did all the littles things: As usual, Hill played scrappy defense, set solid screens and, most importantly, he created extra possessions on offense.
Hill finished the night with 7 of the Lakers’ 18 offensive rebounds and the team ended up turning all those extra possessions into 30 second-chance points.
Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman and Hill will likely need to have decent games tonight in order to compete with Golden State’s talented starting bigs in David Lee and Andrew Bogut, although, the Lakers will probably decide to deploy a smaller lineup again at times with the likes of Shawne Williams and Wesley Johnson playing at the four.
Aside from the incredible output from the bench last night (76 points), one reason the Lakers pulled out a win against Doc Rivers’ new team was down to their excellent three-point shooting – a staple of any successful D’Antoni offense.
The purple and gold shot 14-for-29 (48%) from downtown, however, the Lakers did also miss a bunch of good looks from three – Johnson (1-for-4), Williams (0-for-3) and Nick Young (1-for-4) all had decent-looking long-range attempts that just didn’t fall – so who knows how much better the percentage could’ve been, and how many of those open shots will fall tonight instead.
The bottom line is that the Lakers will need to keep the pressure on the Warriors all night long – they did that to the Clippers last night who finally conceded in the fourth quarter, even when Rivers’ starting lineup returned to the floor.
The Oracle Arena will be buzzing tonight in Oakland as the Warriors begin their much-anticipated season. The Lakers need to bring it from the start.
The Warriors have a lot of weapons, though their most dangerous one is Curry, who can get hot at any moment. When you’re playing against a guy like Curry, a player who can bury a bunch of threes within a short period of time, you’re never really out of the woods while leading until the final buzzer sounds.
Last night, Nash picked up Chris Paul – which was a little surprising; I expected to see Steve Blake guarding CP3 out of the gate – and one would assume that he’ll defend Curry tonight while Blake guards the taller Klay Thompson. That’s if Nash plays, of course. Farmar will likely see a lot of minutes again this evening and will also be faced with the task of trying to slow down the super-quick Curry.
Kobe Bryant (Achilles) – doubtful
Harrison Barnes (foot) – doubtful
Festus Ezeli (knee) – out
The game starts at 7:30 pm PST and will be broadcast live on TWC SportsNet and NBA TV.