The Los Angeles Lakers (2-11) head north for a quick two-game road trip to face the Golden State Warriors (15-0) in their first of four meetings with the defending NBA champions. While the Lakers have had a rough start to the season, the Warriors will be chasing history Tuesday night for the best start in league history as they attempt to go 16-0.
The Lakers are coming off a 93-107 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, in a game where they battled back and forth nearly the whole game until the offense faltered down the stretch yet again. Golden State returns home after their 118-105 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
Though it may seem like a long shot for the Lakers to secure their third win of the season, as Kobe Bryant said after the loss to Portland, “I’ve seen stranger things happen.” It should be noted that one of the teams Golden State is currently tied with for the record is the 1948-49 Washington Capitols, who lost their 16th game to the 3-13 Indianapolis Jets.
Anchoring the frontcourt for Golden State is Andrew Bogut out of Utah and Draymond Green, the for Michigan State Spartan. Though not known for his scoring ability, the 7’0″ Bogut is an extremely capable low-post defender. A gritty player, Bogut is also an effective rebounder who can dominate the boards if he’s not held in check as he has averaged nine rebounds per game in his 10-year career.
Green became a household name last year as the motor for this team during their championship run. He is one of the few players that can defend every position on the floor, even the occasional point guard. On top of being a solid post-player, this year he has added three-point range consistency and is shooting 43 percent from deep so far this year. Add on Harrison Barnes and you have potentially the best defensive frontcourt in basketball.
In a backcourt that rarely needs an introduction anymore; we have the Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. This 1-2 punch has ushered in a new era of the three-ball, which so far many teams have tried to emulate but simply can’t duplicate.
While the Warriors chase history, Curry’s start to the season has drawn comparisons to the greatest in history, and his numbers thus far make case a strong case. Curry is averaging 32 points and five assists while shooting a remarkable 51 percent from the field and 43 percent from deep.
Meanwhile, Klay Thompson’s 16 points per game have come with high efficiency as well. He is shooting 45 percent from the field and 40 percent from three, all while being the team’s best perimeter defender. If for any reason Curry were to get off to a slow start, it is usually Thompson who takes over as he did last game versus the Nuggets with his team-high 21 points.
Keys To Victory:
Containing the Splash Bros: Though it seems like a tall and so far unbeatable task, the Lakers will need to disrupt their rhythm at the three-point line. The Clippers were able to jump out ahead by 23 last week because they were physical early on and didn’t let them get comfortable. Although the Warriors eventually were able to overcome the deficit and win, it was mainly because Curry and Thompson got hot from deep and were able to chip away at the lead in no time.
Make Teams Pay for Turnovers: In a lot of these close games, the Lakers miss out on easy buckets because of their inability to capitalize on the opponent’s turnovers. On Sunday, each team had 10 turnovers on the game. However, the Blazers were more far more opportunistic with 18 fast break points.. These are easy buckets in transition that they have yet to take advantage of.
Find an Identity on Offense: It’s 13 games into the season, and the offense still has yet to establish an identity. It just looks like half the time is set plays while the other half are isolations for either Kobe, Clarkson or Randle. In large part, that has to do with D’Angelo Russell. Though the rookie is still going through growing pains, he did a terrific job on the boards last game with nine rebounds. But instead of getting out in transition with those boards, he just slows it up to try and run the offense. Granted Kobe and Hibbert on the floor, it is possible Russell can flourish and get into rhythm if he tries to occasionally run the floor with Clarkson and Randle and the wings, both of whom are extremely athletic finishers.
Los Angeles Lakers (2-11) vs Golden State Warriors (15-0)
7:30 PM PST, November 24, 2015
Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 (Spanish)
Warriors Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Harrison Barnes
PF: Draymond Green
C: Andrew Bogut
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Jordan Clarkson
SF: Kobe Bryant
PF: Julius Randle
C: Roy Hibbert