Game Preview & Chat: The Golden State Warriors

Kurt —  December 14, 2007

Records: Lakers 13-8; Warriors 12-10
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.2 (7th); Warriors 111.2 (7th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.1 (12th); Warriors 109.3 (20th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum
Warriors: Baron Davis, Monta Ellis, Matt Barnes, Al Harrington, Andris Biedrins

Lakers Notes: No Tony Parker, no Tim Duncan and Ginobli out at the 10:30 mark in the fourth quarter due to five fouls. Mix all that together and it meant the Lakers got away with a sloppy start, too many threes and poor shooting for much of the night. Good teams win some ugly games, and we’ll chalk that Lakers win up to that.

It was a mix of good and bad. The bad, too many threes and far too many early in the shot clock. The good: Another good game for the bench, they started the fourth quarter run that got the win. The bad: Once again the Lakers left too many people open beyond the three line. The Good: Turiaf’s presence inside on defense, the two blocks he had were the only two the team got, and his solid play once Bynum was tossed.

(About Bynum’s ejection: In hockey you see this fairly often, when a team is flat or struggling a veteran guy will go pick a fight with a bruiser on the opposition, all an effort to fire up his team. I don’t think Bynum got tossed intentionally, and he deserved it in the sense he’s still young and can’t yap like that at the refs, but it had the same impact. The team rallied after he was tossed.)

Another note on Turiaf — I’m not why Phil has gotten away from starting him. I think what he brings in terms of defense and intensity is something needed, something the Walton at the three Odom at the four combo does not bring. If the Lakers were getting a huge offensive boost moving Odom back to the four then maybe the defensive trade-off would be worth it (and the Lakers need to get Odom the ball on the block more), but until that happens I’d rather have Ronny’s defense in the paint and energy.

The Warriors Coming In: They beat the Spurs a couple nights ago, too. The Warriors had five guys in double digits and a 24-3 run in the second had them pulling away for an easy win.

Don’t be shocked if Don Nelson tries to force the small ball and pace by starting Kelenna Azubuike instead of Biedrins and pushing Harrington to center. Phil doesn’t really fall for this stuff — he’ll leave Bynum in and try to pound it inside — but that starting five is what the Warriors did against the Duncan-less Spurs.

Also, remember that recent JA Adande quote about the Warriors:

You know how you don’t want to fight a crazy guy, because you don’t know what he is going to do? The same thought applies here. If the Warriors are going to shoot the first 25-footer they see, is there really any way to defend against it?

He’s right, and you just don’t know what Warriors team will show up tonight. They will want revenge and it may be a bomb’s away night for them.

To find out more about the Warriors, check out Golden State of Mind.

Keys To The Game: The Lakers won the last game because they got great play from the bench and stuck with the game plan of pounding the Warriors on the inside. That combo will be what the Lakers should try to do again.

The question is will they? Last night in San Antonio the Lakers played a style and quality of game that, if they repeat it tonight, they will get run out of the building. There are things the Lakers must do: No threes early in the shot clock. In fact, fewer threes overall. Get the ball inside. Pound the offensive glass. Get back in transition defense.

Essentially, the opposite of what they did against San Antonio.

Tonight’s Game: Where A Dish Best Served Cold Happens: I have a bad feeling about this game from the Lakers perspective. The blueprint is there for another key win for the Lakers, but last night’s performance (despite the win) did not leave me inspired. Hope my gut is wrong (or just didn’t like that breakfast burrito I had).

Where you can watch: Game time is 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). In Los Angeles tune into KCAL (9), nationally you get ESPN. You can compare the WWL’s announcing/studio team o TNT’s last night, while that is fresh in your mind. If you’re enough of a masochist to do that.