- Tip Off: 7:30 PM PT
- Television: CSN-BA, NBATV
Los Angeles Lakers Team Profile
- Offensive Efficiency: 105.3 (8th in NBA)
- Defensive Efficiency: 103.4 (tied for 17th in NBA)
- Points: Kobe Bryant, 27.0 PPG
- Rebounds: Dwight Howard, 12.5 RPG
- Assists: Steve Nash, 6.8 APG
- Steals: Metta World Peace, 1.7 SPG
- Blocks: Dwight Howard, 2.4 BPG
- Field Goal Percentage: Dwight Howard, 56.7% FG
- 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: Steve Nash, 43.4% 3PT FG
Scope the Opposition: Forum Blue and Gold.
Preview: The Los Angeles Lakers (36-34) own the Golden State Warriors (40-31) and that’s been the case for some time now.
In the last 22 games, the Lakers have been victorious 19 times over the last six seasons.
There are two reasons for the Lakers’ supremacy over the Dubs: the size of the Lake Show and one Kobe Bean Bryant.
Both have been increasingly dominant against Golden State in the past few years. Indeed, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol have softened up the Warriors by shredding them on the interior in previous seasons.
Bryant has ended the job by cutting out the hearts of the Dubs’ faithful with his explosive and timely clutch scoring. Every time the Warriors have been close, the Black Mamba has not only closed the door shut, he’s done it by literally giving Golden State the security code to the vault.
Much like the rest of the league, Warriors players always know what to expect from the former league MVP, and yet he always delivers.
This season, Bynum has been replaced by Dwight Howard, but the results have been the same.
Golden State may be the better team this year by virtue of their overall record when compared with the Lakers, but Bryant and company are still the team to beat in this head-to-head matchup.
The Lakers are coming off back-to-back losses against sub-.500 teams.
The Phoenix Suns (23-48) and Washington Wizards (25-44) were victorious in the last two games against Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol made their long awaited returns from injury against the Wizards but still fell before John Wall and his teammates.
The Warriors will more than likely emulate the game plan used by Washington tonight with the hope of coming out victorious by night’s end.
The onus will fall on Mark Jackson’s unit to play tough solid interior defense tonight against the Lakers. Providing obstacles in the paint against Gasol and Howard is a must.
Consequently, Andrew Bogut and David Lee’s best will undoubtedly be needed on both ends of the court.
If the Dubs can hold the fort on the interior and make perimeter shots, it will force Mike D’Antoni into tough decisions such as perhaps downsizing his lineup.
Keeping the game close will be a must, but once that’s accomplished, Golden State will be facing arguably the best closing team in the NBA not named the Miami Heat.
Since the All-Star break, the Lakers have been scoring 110.3 points per 100 possessions in the clutch (defined as last five minutes of the game with scoring margin within five points), good for 11th best in the league over that span.
After struggling in late game situations earlier this year, Kobe Bryant has been a monster on this front late. He’s monopolized the shots for the most part, but he is currently tied with LeBron James for the second most total clutch points scored this season.
As much as that deserves credit, the biggest reason for the Lakers’ turnaround is their defense in these same situations.
Dwight Howard’s improved health has made him a little more mobile on the defensive end. Consequently, he is thwarting opponents in the paint and at the rim.
In other words, the Lakers are now getting stops.
According to NBA.com’s advanced stats tool, the Los Angeles Lakers have been allowing a mere 76.6 points per 100 possessions in crunch time since the mid-season classic. That figure is the best in the Association over that time period.
Needless to say, beating the Lakers tonight at Oracle Arena should be a tall order for a Warriors team that has historically struggled against their division rivals. And that’s before we take into account the fact that Stephen Curry is a game-time decision.
If there’s one thing we know for sure though, Warriors and Lakers always produce some great matchups. And tonight shouldn’t be an exception.
Statistical support provided by NBA.com.
Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at JM.Poulard@Warriorsworld.net.