Preview & Chat: The Golden State Warriors

Kurt —  December 28, 2008

NBA Kings vs. Warriors NOV 9
Records: Lakers 24-5 (1st in the West) Warriors 9-22 (11th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.1 (3rd in league) Warriors 106.1 (17th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.2 (4th in league) Warriors 112.1 (28th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Warriors C.J. Watson, Marco Belinelli, Stephen Jackson, Brandan Jacobs, Andris Biedrins

Lakers notes: After the Laker win, there was a gracious post up at Celtics blog saying that if you are going to call Pau Gasol soft, then you need to give credit when he steps up and performs.

J.D. Hastings in the comments made the same case for Lamar Odom, who is oft-maligned by some Lakers fans.

I want to make sure to mention something I haven’t seen getting enough attention. Lamar Odom’s intensity during the Boston game was a huge factor. He was a team high +17. I don’t think anyone else was even in double figures. The uncharacteristic drive and energy he brought that helped set a tone.

One play on defense he threw KG to the floor before he could get the ball. He was called for the foul, but it was a great moment considering how KG had been manhandling Pau every time down before he could get the ball.

Even the 3 pointers that made me cringe had an attitude with them that the team needed to display against the Celtics. To say nothing of his Kobe-like hook floater in traffic.

Not to take anything away from anyone else (and I do agree with playing Bynum to close), but considering what LO has sacrificed for this team, his contributions are worth noting.

SMT added that Odom pushing KG around after KG threw an elbow at Sasha — Odom from the tough streets of New York will stick up for his friends.

Secondly, Odom has had the best (or tied for best) +/- numbers on the team the last three games. He leads the team in raw +/- for the season, the only player in the double digits positive. Certainly the +/- stat has some flaws as a way to define who is playing well, but the bottom line is that if your team is doing better when you are on the court then when you are off, then you are doing something right. And are a key part of the team’s success.

Welcome Back Ronny: I still miss the guy, dancing around on the sidelines and hustling his butt off when in the game.

I get why he moved on — that was more money than the Lakers should have paid and up north Ronny gets more burn (about 20 minutes a game lately). In his game, Ronny is still Ronny, he is not shooting great but he is getting to the line often and is contributing at both ends of the floor. It will be good to watch him play again.

The Warriors Coming In: In case you missed it, they beat the Celtics, too. This is a team that, like the Knicks, has a different style that can throw teams off their rhythm and beat them if you overlook them. The Warriors are playing at the second fastest pace in the league.

Obviously, this was a team that wanted Monta Ellis as the go-to guy, but he is not back from injury yet. Also out is Jamal Crawford, who has played fairly well in the up-tempo style, and Corey Maggette. That said, they are getting some increased production from other guys.

The guy who is really thriving this season is Andris Biedrins. He is averaging 14 and 11, has an impressive true shooting percentage of 56.7% and leads the team in PER (20.7). Most importantly, he is a real hustle guy, and one of the few Warriors who seems to do that at both ends of the floor. Stephen Jackson also apparently likes the system, and he was the go to guy against Boston with 15 points in the fourth quarter.

Keys To The Game: Discipline is at the heart of what the Lakers need to do. Bottom line with the Warriors right now, they are not a disciplined team. If you are disciplined, you can force them into mistakes at both ends. But, if you get sucked into their game (something the Lakers do all too often) it could look a lot like Friday night for Golden State. The Lakers need to live by the old John Wooden mantra tonight: Be quick but don’t hurry.

If the Lakers can force the Warriors into a half-court offense, this is a good team to trap. That’s because they are not a good passing team. Bad passers and guys don’t get to open spots like they should.

The battle of the boards will be key, the Lakers are longer but they can be lax in that area, and the Warriors are very aggressive on the offensive glass and are eighth in the Association in the percentage of offensive rebounds grabbed. That is a little ironic, because they are last in the NBA in the percentage of defensive rebounds grabbed. The Lakers should be able to get some second chance points in this one.

While teams shoot a pretty high percentage against the Warriors, don’t expect to get bailed out with a foul. They don’t send teams to the line often.

The Lakers need to recognize the personnel on the floor for the Warriors — you can’t let Azubuike or Belinelli shoot the three, they will kill you from there.

On offense, I would love to see a little screen and roll from the Lakers tonight, because Watson is weak at defending it. And he doesn’t get a lot of help, because the overall concern on defense from the Warriors is not impressive.

Where you can watch: 6:30 start here is Fox Sports in LA or the League Pass options nationally.



50 responses to Preview & Chat: The Golden State Warriors

  1. I watched the entire game Friday night and was impressed with the resiliency of the Warriors. Down 3 top players they still didn’t give up. We will have to beat them and then beat them again to get this win. We should be able to do it, but our players have to avoid slack play or the Warriors will repeatedly come back on you. They don’t get tired like Boston did in the 4th qtr.

  2. An obvious trap game. Lakers should kill Warriors by 20+, but they have proven they are good winning with Celtics, so it’s a laid back time. OTOH Warriors have nothing to lose, starters are out of it, so backups will try to show they could play too.

    Form Lakers’ fan POV the success in this game = Bryant playing less than 30 minutes. The game should be in the fridge in the middle of the 3rd.

  3. Biedrins is not physically strong… Play the half court and feed the ball inside for the whole game. Simple as that!

  4. The only way I see the Lakers losing this game is if they overlook them. Considering the Warriors just beat boston, hopefully the Lakers will consider that and not overlook this team. They are a bad team, but one of those bad teams that has enough talent to beat you if your not prepared.

  5. the Warriors have to be thinking that they could make their season by being one of the 2 teams that beat both the Lakers and the Celtics (Indiana being the other) in this season, so we better be watching out for a “super-inspired” team tonight. they are gonna bring it, Lakers gotta match the intensity.
    and it will be great to see Ronnie playing again.

  6. The Warriors are a helter-skelter team, just like the Knicks. If they are hot, it will take everything you have (and then some, in the Celtics case), in order to beat them. If they’re cold, they will lose to the Clippers.

    This will be a good game to see if we’ve improved at all on closing out on the corner three’s, or if Boston just didn’t exploit us there.

    This game will be easy to lose if we don’t go to the post early and often. If we don’t get Pau and Bynum involved and they pick up some ticky-tack fouls in transition, we could be in for a long, difficult night. The post is the easiest and simplest way to slow down a game, and slowing this game to a snail’s pace will benefit us. We have the tools and assets to be up-tempo and slow-tempo, and we should choose whichever situation benefits us (in this case, slow-tempo).

    The Warriors are a team that rely on heart to win. If they bring their all (and they probably will since they’re hyped about beating Boston), this should be an interesting game. I do not expect a beatdown, which greatly saddens me since it means we probably won’t see much Josh Powell, but if the Lakers can pound it inside and take advantage of our size, we can beat this team fairly confortably (by 5-10)

    By the way, anyone know a comprehensive place where I can get all the information on the contracts for each player on all of the teams? I get most of my contract information from Hoopshype, but it seems it was wrong, as it has Josh Powell listed as only on a 1 year deal. Thanks in advance

  7. Will be a good test of Laker mental discipline.
    GS plays ZERO defense. Which often causes players to abandon their normal offense and start jacking up open jumpers as soon as they touch the ball. And if GS is on,few teams can match jump shots w/them. But disciplined teams run their offense and pretty much score at will. Will the Lakers be mentally tough enough to ignore temptation and run their Triangle?
    On D keep Randolph off the offensive glass,control Biedrins on the pick-n-roll, and stay on the shooters. Do that and it should be a Lakers laugher.
    Get sucked into who’s jumper is bigger and there will some very unhappy Laker fans.

  8. Here’s hoping Pau drops his first 40 point game as a Laker…

  9. Boston beat up Indiana after they beat us, so we should beat the warriors too just to rub it in.

    Powell vs. Ronny is the matchup I’d like to see. 😉

  10. Yeah, definite trap game. Instead of high screen roll, I would love to see a commitment to scoring in the paint tonight, especially with Pau and Bynum. Outside of Biedrins, the Warriors are real small, no reason not to dominate the boards and points in the paint. Actually, I won’t see the game, but I’d like to hear that in the report.

    Offhand question: When did the Pacific become the worst division in the NBA? It’s the only one with 3 teams under .300 at the moment.

  11. Yup, I’d pound in the middle too. Warriors is a running team, let’s punish them under the basket, let’s deny long rebounds.

  12. I see this game as being another in what should be a long winning streak. We were two missed shots away from a 4-0 road trip, instead we win the last two and come home to beat the Cs in a great game. This should be a game where we see if Phil is going to find someone currently on the roster to play backup PG or if he’s going to continue to have backup by committee. All in all, this should be a win if we play our style. One question – are we still the Lakers of old? By that I mean, do we get up and play solid, smart ball when we play better teams and then play down the level of lesser opponents? Thoughts?

  13. Brandon Wright trying to guard Pau Gasol should be a laugher. Lakers need to pound the ball inside to Gasol and Bynum right from the opening tip.

  14. link to game anyone?

  15. Warriors biggest weakness is not their bigs (Though they really have nobody there) but lack of a point guard. They have no discipline or cohesion. Their attack is based on chaos. I think if we pressure them on their court and bother their players bringing the ball up we can force a lot of turnovers and easy points off of them

  16. any one with a link?

  17. You have to love that no-look, over the head pass from Pau to Drew; that’s the way we all dreamed having two seven-footers would work out.

  18. Interesting lineup right now: Sasha, Kobe, LO, Ariza, Bynum.

  19. Ariiiizzzaaa. that waas impressive.

  20. We want Yue!

  21. The Machine is really on so far.

    Sun Yue experiment did not really work out. He definitely looks confused and “out of water” when he is on the floor

  22. Yue gets no playing time! What do you expect! But hes the man!

  23. So far this is a game where the Lakers are just trying to outscore their opponent. Its worked so far.

  24. Gosh Radman, he came in and just made the game ugly. Turnover, gave up a 3pt play.

  25. Wow.. that loss to GS must have really gotten to the Celts.. they’re raping the Kings right now

  26. Ronny looks like he wants to play for the other team 🙂 What an emotional game it must be on the personal level for a guy like Turiaf

  27. The Celtics are making a statement: “We can beat a team in California!”

  28. Firing Theus really did the trick for Sacramento huh?

  29. I feel sorry for Sacramento, they are playing a really angry Celtic team

  30. I do not feel bad for Sacramento ever. No matter how miserable they are, they always find a way to beat us. And we are a team they hate the most by a mile

  31. Thanks for the words, Kurt. I just wish I’d proofread that a bit more ; )

    What percentage of Warriors shots are PUJITs or PUJODs??? We really shouldn’t wonder where Fisher learned the habit. They’ve just added 5 or 6 new offenders since he left Oakland. To their credit, though- they can make them.

  32. The Lakers didn’t exactly follow our suggested game plan and pound the ball inside, but they’re taking the Warriors to the woodshed just the same. Kobe, Fish and Sasha look like they’re shooting jumpers in an empty gym out there. Only poor Radmanovic looks like he can’t get into the flow.

  33. Lakers made a statement tonight, too: We beat by 20 plus the team you lost by 10 points only two days ago.

  34. The Warriors should feel honoured – they are only the second team to be SUNNED this season.

  35. It was nice seeing the bench giving Sun a standing ovation after getting a basket. Don’t know how Sun took that though… XD

  36. TRad (comment #2) got his wish: Pau and Kobe played 30 and 32 minutes, respectively, and Fish was only on the court for 24 … especially nice to see since he’d been averaging over 40 since Farmar went down.

    The game was never in doubt after the start of the second half, and just think what the final margin would have looked like if the entire Warriors roster couldn’t shoot the three (they finished 9-18, not that we were too shabby ourselves at 10-22).

    Hard not to be satisfied with this one: we managed not to overlook a dangerous (if flawed) team and we didn’t let them hang around, even if it didn’t exactly take maximum effort or focus to put them away.

  37. This might not matter at all in the grand scheme of things, but did it look like that Kobe was still mindful of the ‘steals bet’ he has with Ariza et al.?

  38. What are the odds we see the Sasha-Luke-Vlade-Ariza-Powell lineup on the floor again ever?

  39. Does Mihm’s DNP-CD in a blowout like this mean that he’s gone? Seems very odd that Luke was in there at the end instead of Mihm with all that garbage time, unless the Mihm for Lue rumors are true.

  40. 41. I was wondering the same thing. Why risk an injury to Ariza in a blowout when you could just go with Mihm in the front court. For a while you had both Vlad Rad and Ariza in the game without a true center.

  41. Powell is the man 🙂

  42. Re:Mihm

    Mihm costs effectively $5M per season. Even for Lakers it’s too much for a 12th man from the bench. Lakers will try to keep Powell and trade Mihm, it makes sense from cost/effect POV. So they play Powell to let him show what he can. With Bynum/Gasol/Odom frontline rotation Mihm is a luxury.

  43. 44. The Lakers wouldn’t save any money by swapping Mihm for Lue though (Lue makes $50K more than Mihm does, actually). I guess you could argue they’d be getting more for their money if Lue could fill in for a couple months while Farmar rehabs. IMO Mihm is the better of the two players though, but he’s just locked out of PT because he’s behind Bynum, Gasol and Odom; but if any of those guys got hurt he would be a great asset to have. That said, the Lakers could get by temporarily just fine with two of those guys and with Powell and Mbenga filling in if someone did get hurt, so I’d be OK with losing Mihm; but trading Mihm for Lue is definitely not a cost-cutting move.

  44. I wasn’t arguing about Mihm-Lue exchange. it was about Mimh’s value for Lakers. And I was under impression that Mihm has another season on his contract, what isn’t true.

    But, according to hoopshype, Lue’s salary is $.25M lower than Mihm’s. And would fill a need (a temporary one), while Mihm is at this moment useless.

    Outside the Lakers context the potential deal looks bad (thou shall not trade big for small), but I’d rather pay for backup PG, than for 3rd string center.

  45. One more thought: it doesn’t matter. I don’t think Mihm-Lue (or Mihm-whoever) would give or take away more than one win during the regular season, and in the postseason it would be a non-factor at all.

  46. If the Farmar free line-up is working, why change it by adding another PG?

    The Lakers seem to be playing with more intensity, so why add another PG? Farmar’s injury was the motivation and the drama needed to stir the Lakers pot.

    I also think the starters are getting accustomed to Walton starting at the 3, too.

  47. New post up where we are actually going to talk trade for one day.

  48. Mihm-Lue is fine. Adding Lue allows Fisher to cut down his increased minutes as of now. We already have Powell and Mbenga as reserves, so Mihm isn’t really necessary.