Preview& Chat: Golden State Warriors

Kurt —  March 25, 2007

Going for five. Really, it’s becoming hard to keep coming up with ways to describe Kobe’s brilliance the last four games. Today I get a little help from Rob L., who has been keeping a lot of Laker stats on the season.

When Kobe has been on the floor this season, he’s averaged using 24.6% of the team’s possessions (meaning when he was on the floor basically one in four Laker possessions ended with a Kobe shot, him getting fouled, or a turnover; that would put him in the top10 in the league). He scored 114.3 points on every 100 possessions he used (called his offensive rating), a very good number considering how much he has the ball in his hands (for comparison, as a team the Lakers score about 105 points per 100 possessions).

Then came the last four games: Portland he used 38.5% of the possessions with an offensive rating of 144.3; Minnesota he used 37% of the offense and had an offensive rating of 113.9; Memphis was 38.9% of the offense with a rating of 134.4; then against the Hornets it was 32.8% of the offense and a rating of 136.1%.

As Rob pointed out, only against Minnesota did he play “down” to his average and he did that carrying a crazy amount of the offense.

We Got KG. In the hypothetical world of True Hoop’s Kevin Garnett derby, the Forum Blue & Gold submission won the public voting. If only the real world worked this way….

Getting team play. While Kobe has been amazing, there has been good play from the other Lakers. Since his return, Lamar Odom is shooting 55.2% (but has yet to hit a three, the shoulder clearly giving him some problems), plus he is pulling down 10 boards a game. Luke Walton is shooting 51.4% (eFG%) and is averaging 7 assists per game. There was even some good off the bench play from the “hope for the future” combo of Bynum and Farmar.

Ready to run. Golden State plays at the fastest pace in the league, averaging 97.2 possessions per game — that is three more possessions per game than Phoenix (and almost six more than the Lakers, and they are eighth in the league.

That’s a lot of chances for Kobe…

Hot and fast. Not only is Golden State fast they are hot, having won seven of their last 10. They are just one game back of the Clippers for the chance to be the first Golden State team to make the playoffs in more than a decade.

Great guard play. Leading the charge for Nellie’s Warriors is the two guards that are finally healthy at the same time, Baron Davis and Jason Richardson.

In the last 10 games, Davis is shooting 60.5% (eFG%) and 28% from three, averaging 20 points, seven assists and five boards a game during that stretch. At the same time Richardson is shooting 52.4%, 39.4% from three.

Great team play. The other thing that has driven the Warriors is quality contributions from other guys. Al Harrington is scoring 17 a game shooting 59.5%, 52.5% from three in the last 10 games. Monta Ellis is shooting 52% and chipping in 13 a game in that spann. Andris Biedrins is shooting 63% and is giving them 11 points and 11 boards a game of late.

Worth reading. Golden State has one of the better NBA team blogs out there in Golden State of Mind, which drew 350 people to a game last week the promise of the chance to hang out with other like-minded geeks to watch some hoop.

What to look for tonight: Bet the over (which is at a whopping 222,so maybe not).

Can the Lakers defend enough tonight. There were flashes of defense in recent games, even from Smush, but flashes will not be enough against the streaking Warriors. I’m not sure this is a game where the Laker offense can bail out the defense.