The last time the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors battled in a real game, LeBron James hit what turned out to be a game-winning three over Steph Curry. That win sent the Lakers to the playoffs, and the Warriors went on to lose their second play-in game against the Memphis Grizzlies to bow out of the postseason chase.
Can the Dubs steal a win at Staples Center against the veteran Lakers? Catch this game live on October 20, at 10:00 AM, Manila time.
Away: Golden State Warriors (0-0)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Steph Curry
- SG: Jordan Poole
- SF: Andrew Wiggins
- PF: Draymond Green
- C: Kevon Looney
Any team with Steph Curry is always dangerous. He proved that last season while averaging 32 PPG on the way to his scoring title, becoming the first player over the age of 33 not named Michael Jordan to win it. He played in four preseason games, averaging 22.8 minutes and still found a way to average 24.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 2.5 APG with shooting splits of 50 / 40.5 / 81.3 – all while averaging 10.5 three point attempts per game. The Dubs will clearly be able to rely on him to continue scoring, but the question is who else is going to help him until Klay Thompson hopefully comes back to full-form after devastating injuries.
Well, the first guy who looks dangerous for them is Jordan Poole, who had a hell of a preseason and averaged 21.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 3.0 APG while shooting 50.6 / 36.4 / 86.7. The third-year player continues to grow in confidence and if he provides Golden State with another dangerous offensive weapon, they could buy more time for Klay to continue rehabbing and preparing to come back strong midseason. The Warriors also won all five of their preseason games, and Poole was involved in all of them.
A weight was lifted off Golden State’s back when Andrew Wiggins got vaccinated, and it looks like he’ll be available as he played in four preseason games after getting vaccinated. You can’t sleep on some of the Warriors’ new additions, either, like Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica. Porter Jr. averaged 13 PPG and shot 55.2% from beyond the arc while taking 5.8 attempts a game, while Bjelica averaged 9.6 PPG while shooting 44.4% from deep on 3.6 attempts per game.
The emergence of Poole, plus the addition of a couple more deadeye shooters, will make the Warriors a nightmare to guard from the perimeter even before Thompson and James Wiseman come back. We’ll have to see if Draymond Green can get back to his All-NBA defensive form, since there will be no pressure on him to score and they can rely on him more for defense and to be a facilitator – the two things he excels at the most.
Home: Los Angeles Lakers (0-0)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Russell Westbrook
- SG: Malik Monk / Kendrick Nunn (both are day-to-day)
- SF: Kent Bazemore
- PF: LeBron James
- C: Anthony Davis
It was a rough preseason for the Lakers, who lost all five of their games while also seeing talented youngster Talen Horton-Tucker to a torn thumb, which required surgery and will sideline him for quite some time. He’ll be re-avaluated in a few weeks but that’s a tough pill to swallow for an old Lakers team that was hoping he could potentially start and make a big contribution this season.
The Lake Show should still be able to rely on LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who are undoubtedly both still All-NBA talents, but you’ve got to wonder if they put the right pieces around them to try to get back to the mountaintop after they were sent home in the first round thanks to Davis’ groin injury. With such an old team, including the likes of Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook, we’ll have to wait and see how all the pieces fit together.
James averaged 18.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 RPG and 1.3 SPG in three preseason games, while Davis averaged 14.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 2.2 APG. Westbrook had a pretty disastrous preseason, and in four games averaged more turnovers (5.8 TPG) than assists (5.0 APG). Anthony, at least, looks like he will continue to be a good scoring option from the bench, as he did for Portland, and he averaged 11.4 PPG, while shooting 43.5% on 4.6 three-point attempts per game during the preseason. Malik Monk could also be an important player for them if he continues with his preseason averages of 12.7 PPG and 47.1 % from three on 5.7 attempts.
The thing is, we’ve got to note that the Lakers are barely a year removed from being NBA champions. The main questions surrounding them will be whether or not that have enough reliable three-point threats to complement James and Davis, and whether or not they can stay healthy. They’ve already had back luck on the latter point with THT’s injury, and Wayne Ellington will also be out on opening night due to a hamstring problem.
Spread: The Lakers are a favorite at home, and rightly so, but I think the Warriors keep it close and cover +4.
Over/Under: I’m gunning for the Over 227 for the game, especially if Curry and Poole keep up with their hot shooting.