Thoughts on Lakers-Warriors Preseason Game
The Golden State Warriors took on the Los Angeles Lakers last night and gave the purple and gold a good spanking. This bodes well for a team with playoff aspirations right?
Although the Dubs were quite impressive in thrashing the Lakers last night, it’s worth noting that L.A. led throughout the first half by double digits and then Mike Brown essentially gave his starters the second half off while Mark Jackson kept his first unit in.
Consequently, the Golden State Warriors went on a tear, outscoring the Los Angeles Lakers reserves by a score of 37-10 in the third quarter.
Prior to the third quarter explosion though, there were things the Dubs did that brought signs of optimism but also some concerns.
The Lakers ran a couple of screens on the strong side of the court and it seemed to confused the Warriors early and often.
Steve Nash is one of the premier point guards in the league and he toyed with the Dubs’ defense, running pick-and-rolls or having the big man slip the screen and catch the ball off the bounce for an uncontested lay up. Also, when the Warriors finally managed to thwart the initial screen action, the ball was easily reversed to the weak side of the court for an open shot or a drive and dish at the rim.
Given the new faces on the team, one would expect for the Warriors’ defense to show some cracks into it and perhaps it gets better as they advance into their preseason schedule.
The Warriors finished the game with a 40-38 rebounding edge, but that figure is somewhat misleading given that the Lakers sent in their reserves to play for the entire second half.
In the first two quarters, the Lakers easily had their way on the boards before the Warriors finally fought back and protected their backboards to face a mere 21-17 rebounding edge at the half.
Granted, Andrew Bogut was not in uniform last night so the rebounding deficit can be attributed to that, but Dwight Howard was absent as well for the purple and gold.
Rebounding is usually a result of size, grit and hustle; and the Dubs will have to make sure they clean that up in most games this season.
The Dubs looked lost early in the contest on offense, as they turned the ball over frequently as players looked for their spots on offense. Obviously, with this being the first game, it’s somewhat understandable, and they managed to right the ship as the game unfolded.
Stephen Curry’s absence was obviously part of the issue as Warriors players made some questionable decisions with the ball last night that led to 10 first half turnovers.
Once Curry starts to get into games, he should be able to direct the offense and remove some of the decision making from players that are not yet accustomed to doing so.
Klay Thompson was brilliant last night. I hate to make such a hyperbolic statement, but he played like Ray Allen in the contest, as he submitted 18 points and four assists on 7-for-11 field goal shooting and 4-for-6 shooting from 3-point range.
Keep in mind, it wasn’t just the shooting; it was the attitude he had catching the ball off screens and in transition, as well as his willingness to put the ball on the floor and attack defenders.
In addition, the long-range sniper turned himself into a playmaker, finding ways to get the ball to players in scoring position.
Put it all together, and he was a shooter, scorer and occasional playmaker when defenses tried to trap him coming off screens. Once again, who does that sound like?
Another young player that impressed last night was Harrison Barnes. It’s not that he did anything that was over the top during the contest, but rather that he looked like he belonged on a court full of NBA players.
The former Tar Heel attacked Antawn Jamison repeatedly off the dribble and even drew a few fouls. Also, he had one possession in which he posted up Kobe Bryant on the left block and turned to his right shoulder for a fade away jumper that he converted all the while drawing the foul.
His ballhandling was solid and he played with tons of confidence on his way to 13 points on 5-for-11 field goal shooting in 24 minutes of playing time.
Put it all together and there is obviously great cause for optimism despite the absences of Curry and Bogut but the players will have to adjust to playing together, meshing their talents and mixing in some hustle into the equation.
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