Lakers vs. Warriors Pre-Game Report: Lakers Look for Back-to-Back Wins

Golden State Warriors (20-30) at Los Angeles Lakers (32-20)
6:30 PM PST, April 1, 2012
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Radio: 710 ESPN (English)/ 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Warriors Projected Starting Line-Up:
PG: Charles Jenkins
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Dorell Wright
PF: David Lee
C: Jeremy Tyler

Key Reserves: F Richard Jefferson, F/G Brandon Rush, G Nate Robinson

Warriors Injury Report: C Andrew Bogut (fractured left ankle) is out, G Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle) is out, C Andris Biedrins (strained groin) is questionable

The Lakers look to end the weekend with back-to-back victories after a close win against the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday. Tonight the Lakers face the Golden State Warriors, who are on a four game losing streak, at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The Lakers and Warriors faced each other last Tuesday night in Oakland, where the Lakers fought back to secure a 104-101 victory against the division-rivals. The Warriors have lost both games against the Lakers this season, and are 148-242 all-time against L.A. The Warriors have lost seven consecutive games against the Lakers at Staples Center and have an all-time road record of 41-143 against the Lakers.

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Frontcourt: With injuries to Bogut and Biedrins, the Warriors’ frontcourt relies heavily on David Lee. Lee is averaging 19.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Defending Lee will need to be a focus for the Lakers in all four quarters. Jeremy Tyler went scoreless and recorded just three rebounds in his last match-up against the Lakers. The rookie center is averaging 2.4 points and 1.8 boards per game. Dorell Wright is averaging 9.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Veteran Richard Jefferson has brought leadership and experience to the Warriors’ bench. Jefferson is averaging 9.4 points and 3.9 boards in nine games with Golden State since being traded from the San Antonio Spurs.

Backcourt: The Warriors’ backcourt looks completely different than it did at the start of the season. Ellis was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks and Curry has been sidelined numerous time with ankle sprains. Klay Thompson had a big night in last Tuesday’s match-up against the Lakers, posting 20 points, seven dimes and five boards. Overall, Thompson is averaging 10.6 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists in his rookie year. Rookie Charles Jenkins has been filling in as the starter for Stephen Curry. Jenkins is averaging 4.2 and 2.0 assists per game. Reserve Brandon Rush also had a big night against the Lakers last Tuesday, when he put up 23 points in 33 minutes off the bench. Rush is averaging 9.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Although Nate Robinson did not get any minutes on the floor in the last game against the Lakers, the Lakers cannot fall asleep on him if he is on the court. Robinson is averaging 10.0 points and 4.1 assists in 41 games this season.

Keys to Lakers’ Victory:

Limit David Lee: With Monta Ellis gone and Stephen Curry out, the Warriors have become David Lee’s team. In last Tuesday’s match-up against the Lakers, Lee posted 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists in 41 minutes. Pau Gasol needs to step up his defense on Lee, as Lee’s contribution either makes or breaks the Warriors.

Big Game from Bynum: With Andris Biedrins questionable and Andrew Bogut out, the Warriors center position becomes very weak. Andrew Bynum must take complete advantage of this and use his body and strength to dominate the paint. The Lakers need to build their offense in the low post and around the paint. In last Tuesday’s game against the Warriors, Bynum had 11 points and was limited to just five rebounds. Look for this to change and for Bynum to post big numbers tonight, without taking any three-point attempts.

Move the Ball: In the first quarter of yesterday’s game against the Hornets, the Lakers were moving the ball at a very high level. The result of effective ball movement is black and white. Look for the Lakers to use what they did in the first quarter in yesterday’s game in all four quarters of tonight’s game. This is the biggest key for the Lakers to capture their second consecutive win at home; they must move the ball consistently.

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