The Los Angeles Lakers are preparing for a must-win Play-In Game against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, with the winner earning the Western Conference’s No. 7 seed for the playoffs. Given the opponent, plenty of pressure will be on the shoulders of Dennis Schroder, who will be most in charge of handling Curry.
Curry is coming off of arguably one of the best regular seasons of his career, leading the league in scoring at 32.0 points to go along with 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists while shooting 42.1% from 3-point range. Schroder, who has made a name for himself this season with pesky defense and active hands, is going to face his toughest test of the season on Wednesday night.
Heading into the matchup, Schroder urged L.A. to stay true to their game plan. “Like I said, it’s the playoffs now, Play-In, whatever you want to call it and we got our game plan and we’ve got to stick to it. We know we’re gonna do the best we can to stop this guy but he’s a hell of a player so he’s gonna make some shots. But at the end of the day we’re gonna try to do as much as we can to get a W tomorrow.
“He’s the best shooter who ever played this game so any shot, whatever comes from halfcourt on, it’s a good shot for him. End of the day we got to make it as hard as possible and be into him to limit his threes. Stick to our game plan, like I said. 100%, got to lock in for 48 minutes, everybody, every possession counts, almost like the playoffs, it is the playoffs so we got to be locked in.”
While Schroder may not have the same playoff experience as the man he replaced in the rotation — Rajon Rondo — he does know the intensity of a must-win playoff game after falling just short in Game 7 against the Houston Rockets in 2020 while with the Oklahoma City Thunder. “Every game I play, I’m treating it like it’s my last, so at the end of the day we got to give everything out there.
“It’s one game if we get the W, we get into the playoffs with the seventh seed and yeah, it’s like a Game 7 like you said. But like I said, it’s not gonna change anything. Point of emphasis of course on the defensive end is gonna change, we’ve got to lock in more, every possession counts and got out there with the W. Like I always say, our team is capable of doing big things but now it’s go time and we need to show it.”
Schroder has been one of the Lakers’ best players on offense and defense this season, and they’re going to need another stellar performance from him if they want to ensure the No. 7 seed belongs to them.
Sticking to the game plan may just work for the Lakers, as Curry’s numbers dipped dramatically against the Purple and Gold this season. In three meetings this season, Curry averaged 23.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists while shooting 34.6% from three. If the Lakers can hold him to just that, there’s no reason to think that L.A. can’t come away with the victory.
Schroder discusses rhythm after long absence
Schroder recently missed nearly two weeks in the NBA’s health and safety protocols but is putting any conversation of rhythm or conditioning behind him now.
“All of that don’t matter, we got to get ready for tomorrow and give everything we have and got out there and get the dub. I’m gonna give everything I have like always and try to help my teammates win.”
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