One of the most anticipated playoff matchups in recent memory is finally happening. This is also LeBron James and the Golden State Warriors’ fifth postseason series against each other, and first since the four consecutive NBA finals meetings from 2015 to 2018.
Catch the game tomorrow, May 3, at 10:00 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Golden State Warriors (0-0)
Projected starting five:
- Stephen Curry
- Klay Thompson
- Andrew Wiggins
- Draymond Green
- Kevon Looney
The Warriors will be fresh-off an exhilarating series. They just went the full distance against the Sacramento Kings and clinched it through a legendary performance from Stephen Curry, who decimated the opposition by dropping 50 points – a new NBA record for most points in a Game 7.
We’ll see how the wild series really affected the Dubs, though. It’s one of two things: either they show fatigue at the start or they’ll have more rhythm and feel invincible once again.
Either way, expect the Splash Brothers to be as such. Stephen Curry is averaging 33.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 4.9 threes per game in the postseason, while Klay Thompson is adding 20.6 points and 3.7 treys. Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins, meanwhile, will be X-factors since they are that extra boost – Poole has to be better as he’s only at 12.0 PPG on 33.8% shooting in the playoffs.
Lastly, the Kevon Looney’s matchup with Anthony Davis will be key too. The Warriors big man showed pure hustle opposite Sacramento, posting 6.9 points, 15.1 rebounds (5.3 offensive), and 4.3 dimes in seven games.
The Warriors were only 1-3 in the regular season series with the Lakers, scoring 110.8 per game with a -3.3 net rating. Ultimately, though, it’s an unreliable stat as both Steph and LeBron each missed two of those contests. They finished 33-8 at home in the regular season, and currently 2-1 in the playoffs. They are also second in the league in scoring at 118.9 PPG.
AWAY: Los Angeles Lakers (0-0)
Projected starting five:
- D’Angelo Russell
- Austin Reaves
- Jarred Vanderbilt
- LeBron James
- Anthony Davis
Like the Warriors, the Lakers are also feeling good. They just eliminated the no. 2 seed Memphis Grizzlies in six games, and topped it off with a 40-point beatdown in Game 6. It’s those types of wins they need they have to gather all the confidence they can get in facing one of the best home teams this season.
Anthony Davis has the spotlight as always as he can significantly affect both ends whenever he’s locked in. He had 20.8 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 4.3 blocks per game (26 in total) vs. the Grizzlies, and also one of only two Lakers in the regular rotation to play all four Warrior matchups this season, tallying 22.8 points and 10.5 boards alongside a pair of blocks every contest. Laker fans should hope he stays aggressive every game and not have one of those randomly quiet nights.
We can also say the same for LeBron James, though perhaps with some leeway since he’s 38 years old and nursing injuries. In any case, James has to find a way to give his 20 to 30-point numbers elsewhere and avoid taking less threes as he just went horrific 8-for-41 (19.5%) in the Memphis series. He’s rebounding well, though (11.2 RPG in the playoffs), so let’s see how much the Lakers can get out of it.
D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Dennis Schroder, Rui Hachimura, and Jarred Vanderbilt will remainas the secondary guys, and will contribute scattered offense and defense collectively.
The Lakers are averaging 112.2 PPG in the 2023 playoffs, a bit close to their 113.8 PPG output on the regular season series with the Warriors.
Handicap: The Warriors (-4.5) win and cover.
Over/Under: The total goes under 227.5.