The Los Angeles Lakers were able to end their four-game road trip on a high note on Wednesday by handing the Atlanta Hawks their first loss of the season. On Friday, Luke Walton and company will try to keep it going against their toughest opponent yet, the Golden State Warriors.
Ahead of tonight’s game at the Staples Center, Walton talked about facing his former team for the first time in the regular season. The first-year head coach is hoping the Warriors have an off night following an emotional game against Russell Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, via Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet:
Luke on coaching against Golden State tonight: "I hope that they all have terrible games and we win."
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) November 4, 2016
Walton also was asked about the addition of Kevin Durant to an already talented Warriors team. The former Golden State assistant coach claims he had no idea the team had a legitimate shot to sign the one-time NBA MVP, via Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News:
Luke Walton said he was "surprised" Warriors got Durant in free agency. Walton said he had no inkling KD might be in the cards
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) November 4, 2016
With Durant coming off his first game against his former team and the Warriors playing the second game of a back-to-back tonight, it is kind of a trap-game scenario for Golden State. The Lakers may be able to take advantage of the fact and come out with a win over arguably the best team in the league on Friday night.
If the Lakers continue to play the way they have over the course of the first five games, Walton’s squad will put up a fight against these Western Conference heavyweights. This team has become resilient this season never backing down from opponents and always being in a position to win the game.
The Lakers may be heavy underdogs tonight, but can’t be counted out with their newfound ability to compete on a nightly basis regardless of who they’re playing.