Lakers: 11-3, W4
Golden State Warriors: 5-9, L1
Pace Factor: 101.3 (1st of 30)
LAL: Bryant, Fisher, Artest, Gasol, Bynum
GSW: Curry, Ellis, Morrow, Moore, Radmanovic
Lakers Coming In: The biggest worry for fans these days has been the shaky bench play. There may be more developments along that line tonight. The quickness of the Warriors should see Phil giving Farmar and Brown extended minutes against their speedy back court. Gasol and Bynum should have their way often and early in the paint against the diminutive Warriors’ front line. Look to see a bevvy of players posting up their smaller defender.
The primary worry for the Lakers is getting into a track meet with the gritty young Dubs. The secondary worry is defending the pick and roll/pop. Phil has some choices for what kind of lineups he wants throw out. He can stay big, but if the pace is not to his liking he can go small. I predict the mad scientist will show up tonight, throwing out some head scratching lineups.
The Lakers need to control the tempo, stay out of foul trouble, and use their superior inside size.
Warriors Coming In: The Warriors front office continues to be its biggest weakness. The Captain Jack debacle (gaudy unnecessary contract extension followed by a trade demand) now behind them, Monta Ellis and Steph Curry are the future.
“Jack is a scorer and he feels like he can take his man 1-on-1 at any time in the game,” Stephen Curry said, referring to departed teammate Jackson. “That’s his style and the kind of play that he’s good at. Things slow down naturally through that, but everyone else on this team plays differently.”
Of late, the Warriors have been looking to move the ball. When they make the extra pass, they have the shooters. Morrow is 3rd in the NBA shooting 54% from beyond the arc. Newly acquired and infamous space cadet, VladRad hasn’t quite settled in, but that won’t last. He has also been a more physical player fighting for rebounds and guarding opposing bigs.
The offense looks to get up shots before the defense is set, but if forced into a half court game, they rely on the speed on of Ellis and Curry or the strength of Corey Magette to drive and dish or get shots close to the basket. Magette’s shot selection is historically suspect, but his ability to get to the free throw line keeps him on the floor. Ellis and Curry will be involved in a lot of pick and pops with Morrow, Randolph, and Radmanovic.
Whoa Nellie: Coach Nelson will miss 3 more games with pneumonia, but Warrior fans feel like his real sickness is apathy. Nelson has been criticized for waning interest and connection to his young team. His big paycheck means he won’t be going anywhere unless asked to do so by the management. Keith Smart, who is coaching in his stead, waits in the wings. Reports are that he already runs practices. Nelson has been giving more and more responsibility to assistants, asking them to actively coach during games. His recent spats with Ellis have been widley reported. Jackson’s trade seems to have galvanized the team, but has it also galvanized them against their coach?
The Walking Wounded: The Warrior have been decimated by injury. They have played with 7 or 8 players over the past few weeks. Astonishingly, they pulled put wins against Portland and Dallas, the Mavs win coming with only 6 players suited up. Monta Ellis went the distance in both of those games and has been scoring points in bunches.
Turiaf will add some needed depth in his return and come off the bench in this one.
Hello Old Friend: Turiaf, Radmanovic, and even Devean George will be wearing the orange and blue tonight.
I’ll be in attendance, so if anything noteworthy pops up, I’ll look to update.