The Los Angeles Lakers have an extremely dangerous matchup in the NBA’s Play-In Game as they will face off with the Golden State Warriors. Obviously much of the attention has gone towards the history between LeBron James and Stephen Curry, but perhaps the most important matchup will be the team’s respective big men in Anthony Davis and Draymond Green.
While Green is nowhere near the scorer that Davis is, he is absolutely essential to the Warriors’ offense with his playmaking ability. The Lakers will be focused on making sure he doesn’t control the game and potentially the best option to containing him is Davis, arguably the best overall defender in the league.
In terms of his health coming into the contest, Davis is having no issues. “I’m fine. Abductor feels good, shoulder feels good,” Davis said. But with it being playoff time, the questions about Davis playing more center have already begun and with the Warriors known to put Green at the center position, Davis is prepared to take on that role if necessary as well.
“Possibly. That’s more of a coach’s decision,” Davis added. “If I need to play the five, you guys know I will. I have no problem with that come playoff time, but that team is different sometimes. They throw Draymond [Green] at the five. We might go Marc [Gasol], Trezz, Drumm out there at the five and I stay four or we might make an adjustment where I’m at the five and Kuz, Bron are four or three.”
One of the biggest strengths of the Lakers is their versatility and the different options they have depending on the matchup. As Davis noted, the Lakers can go a number of ways. “It’s a coach’s adjustment. It also depends on how the game is going, how well guys are playing. Things like that, but if I need to play the five then I have no problem sliding down to the five.”
For his part, Frank Vogel echoed the sentiments of Davis about the multiple options of containing Green and insists the Lakers will be prepared for any situation. “He presents a challenge obviously, he’s one of the best to ever do it quite frankly in terms of playing that small ball center role,” the Lakers head coach said. “We spent a lot of time looking at that with our group today and we’re prepared to play him with bigs or with AD at the five.”
Whatever the lineups and rotations turn out to be, Vogel made it clear that everything is being done with one goal in mind.
“This simplest way to put it is we’re coaching to win. Whatever we need to do to win this game, that’s what we’re gonna do.”
Davis views Play-In vs. Warriors as a Game 7
Despite being in the Play-In Tournament, the Lakers are still viewed as one of the championship favorites in the NBA and are facing a lot of pressure in this contest. The fact that it is coming against a team with the pedigree of the Warriors only makes things more difficult and Davis is coming in with a Game 7 mindset.
“I think it is a pretty big game,” Davis said. “From the standpoint of what I just said. You get three days in between games to rest and get right for your next series. I think it is beneficial to us to absolutely to win that game. It is a big game playing Steph Curry and the [Golden State] Warriors and it’s always a tough matchup when you are playing those guys when Steph is playing.
“We look at it as a Game 7 for sure. You play these guys one time in the Play-In Tournament, so we look at it as a Game 7 for sure. It’s a must-win for us.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!