Preview & Chat: The Golden State Warriors

Kurt —  January 7, 2009

Stanford v UCLA

Records: Lakers 27-6 (1st in the West) Warriors 10-26 (11th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.9 (2nd in league) Warriors 107.0 (14th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.1 (4th in league) Warriors 113.0 (30th of 30)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radmanovic (?), Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Warriors Jamal Crawford, Marco Belinelli, Corey Maggette, Brandan Jacobs, Andris Biedrins

Lakers notes: Interesting stat (double checked from the) comments: The Lakers are 4-4 on the front end of back-to-backs but 6-1 in the second game (heading into tonight).

In the middle of the third quarter last night, it was hard to fault what the Lakers were doing against the Hornets — a Kobecentric offense with a lot of threes was working. The fourth quarter, not as pretty, but it’s always that way when the shots that fell in one quarter dry up in the next.

To me, the bottom line is fairly clear — the Lakers offense just works best when Gasol and Bynum are getting more touches. To it’s credit, New Orleans made that hard last night with some of the better interior defense the Lakers have seen in a little while. Gasol had a rough first half. But the Lakers got hot on the perimeter in the third and when the game mattered the post was an afterthought. It can’t be that way night in and night out.

That said, I’m in the group not that worried about the loss last night. Pau Gasol did a decent job on West — the book on him is to push him out past 18 feet and if he does drive don’t let him go right and pull up. But last night West was hitting out beyond 20 feet and not turning the ball over when he put it on the floor. He’s good. Nights where guys like West and Chris Paul beat you because they are good happen.

Tonight is the kind of game, however, the Lakers can win.

Did you see what the Clippers did today: They traded a second round pick for Hassan Adams and cash. Then an hour or so later they waived Adams. They essentially traded a pick for cash (but have to pay Adams, which is what their sources said the cash is for).

What a franchise.

The Warriors Coming In: Speaking of franchises doing interesting things, check out this article on the Warriors and their franchise player (hat tip TrueHoop):

(Monta) Ellis is working to get back healthy, but he is not happy with the Warriors, it’s getting worse, and he definitely is not pleased about rejoining a Warriors universe that is ruled by Don Nelson and Robert Rowell….

I’ve said that I don’t think Ellis will ever play for the Warriors again. Now I’ve got to allow that it’s possible that he plays for them merely to boost his value and increase his leverage, all after informing the Warriors that he wants to be traded. Possible….

Ellis knows that Nelson wanted to trade him before the 2007 draft, straight up, for the rights to Acie Law.

Ellis sees a backcourt already stuffed with Jamal Crawford, Marco Belinelli, C.J. Watson, Kelenna Azubuike, Corey Maggette and Stephen Jackson.

I believe that Ellis, like Al Harrington before him, is realizing that he doesn’t want to play for Nelson any more–he doesn’t want Belinelli and Crawford used as pawns against him, he doesn’t want to get caught up in this spiraling season as Nelson plays his mind games.

That is not a recipe for a wonderful comeback story, at least not for the Warriors.


Anyway, since the Lakers last saw the Warriors Corey Maggette is back, but now Stephan Jackson is out for a couple weeks. Maggette was hot in his game back, shooting 55% from the floor, getting to the line like 16 times and scoring 23 a game.

Biedrins also continues to play well.

Keys To The Game: I could just copy and paste this from the last game, because it remains the key —Discipline. The Warriors are not a disciplined team, but they can suck you into their game, and they will be gritty and fight you. If you are disciplined, you can force them into mistakes at both ends. The Lakers need to live by the old John Wooden mantra tonight: Be quick but don’t hurry.

That is especially true on the second night of a back-to-back, where bodies can get tired and minds get lazy.

Last meeting the Lakers dominated the glass, especially not giving up a lot of offensive boards. They need to do that again. The Warriors are very aggressive on the offensive glass and are eighth in the Association in the percentage of offensive rebounds grabbed.

The other key to beating the Warriors is not turning the ball over — give them easy buckets and they are tought to beat. They can score a lot if you are sloppy, and then you are in the track meet they want.

Where you can watch: 7:30 start here is Fox Sports in LA or the League Pass options nationally.