Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Warriors

Darius Soriano —  December 21, 2013

As I said last night, the unpredictable Lakers are back and last night as a reminder of how fun they can be when they are on their games. Missing Kobe and their three point guards (I’m not yet counting Kendall Marshall), the team proved once again that they would not quit. Sure they were sloppy offensively for extended stretches, but they were still able to score well enough and defend more than well enough to beat the Wolves.

Tonight, however, they have a much more difficult task in front of them playing the Warriors in Oakland. Though the Dubs have had their issues this season (they only sit a half game ahead of the Lakers in the standings), they are a potent offense and, with Andre Iguodala healthy, are nearly back to full strength and looking more like the competitive team they were slated to be to start the season. I still think they’d be better off exploring the trade market, but as is they have the potential to beat any team in the West once their full roster is available to Mark Jackson.

The big key to the game is slowing down Steph Curry specifically and keeping the team from getting hot from behind the arc in general. Curry of course is their star guard who has a knack for hitting three pointers from any distance against any type of defense, but Klay Thompson has similar range and Harrison Barnes, Iguodala, and even Draymond Green are all capable of knocking down the long ball. The Lakers will need to be sharp in their pick and roll defense in the half court while also finding shooters in transition to ensure that open jumpers are ceded regularly. If the Lakers can mark their men and force them to shoot from the mid-range or in the paint with a big man contesting, they’d have done their jobs more often than not. This will require that the Lakers’ bigs are up to the task of helping to challenge shots near the paint and then still recovering to the backboard to rebound, but that’s true every night.

Offensively, the Lakers must continue to try and find multiple sparks in order to keep the Warriors’ defense off-balance. Pau Gasol, as he has been the last couple of games, will be key to this as it’s his ability to work in isolation from the post (high, mid, and low) that creates shots for himself and for teammates. If Pau is able to score well enough when looking for his own, it will only open up his passing chances more. This should hopefully help set up the likes of Wes Johnson, Nick Young, and Xavier Henry for the types of shots that they can knock down.

Speaking of Young, like Pau, his ability to create shots in isolation will be huge tonight — but will also be tested. I would not doubt that Young sees a healthy dose of Iguodala defensively and scoring on that guy is awfully tough. Hopefully Young can find his groove early and ride that wave throughout the game, because if he can’t hit shots he (and, subsequently the Lakers) will be in for a long night offensively.

One last thing I’d like to see is for the Lakers to attack the paint as often as they can to make Andrew Bogut defend without fouling. When he goes to the bench, the Warriors really miss the defensive presence Jermaine O’Neal was providing and must now depend on Maurice Speights or David Lee to protect the rim when the big Aussie is on the pine. If the Lakers can force him there earlier in each half due to some extra fouls, it will go a long way in helping them establish the offense they’ll need to keep pace with the Warriors.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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54 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Warriors

  1. For Kobe!!!… I mean Warren

  2. As C.Hearn mentioned in her last post
    Marshall should be given minutes against Clay tonight.
    Still grinning from last night´s win!

  3. Tonight will be a night where we really need quick feet. Move fast, but don’t hurry.

  4. No Pau tonight. Lots of Kamen I guess!

    To bad

  5. Is there a club that has suffered more injuries and lost games from their starters over the last two years? I know we weren’t alone in either year, but both?

  6. Another “upper respiratory infection ” for Pau…or the same one? It seems he’s had one the whole season …

  7. Lets get some early energy and not lose by 40 tonight. Swaggy P!

  8. Warrior fans got to wonder?

    Who are those guys on court?

    None were starters last year anywhere.

  9. Nick Young 4-point play, he also had one last night.

  10. If Swagga P gets him a lil midrange game he could be our Baby Kobe. (Yes we know KB is irreplaceable)!!

  11. Nick Young is gonna Nick Young. Good, Bad, or indifferent. You’ll laugh, You’ll cheer, and You’ll be entertained.

  12. Ouch
    Marshall 3 tos in 2 minutes.

    Calm down

  13. Kamen is a much better rebounder and defender then Pau. Not even close.

  14. Our starting 5′s salary combined is lower that Stephen Curry’s.

  15. Both teams are playing ugly ugly basketball.

  16. Ugly stat, Lakers have 2 points off of 13 Golden State turnovers mid way through the third quarter.

  17. Meeks bumbling tonight.

    Can’t play much worse and not be blown out.

    31% shooting!

  18. Where are all the commenters at tonight? Ken- nothing about how fun this team is to watch right now? 16 turnovers and only halfway through the third quarter… This team really needs a ball handler.

  19. whew, Wesley´s laying an egg from the floor
    & this has become disastrous, but there´s still the 4thQ to play!
    Come on defense!

  20. Nice time out there mike

  21. Even better time out Mike.

    Daaaaa

  22. Ken

    They must have slept in. But then they lost by 30 last time here and they had 3 pg then.

    PG had nothing to do with shooting 28% from the field.

  23. ouch, at the very least it´s down to 15

  24. Williams, Meeks and Johnson have been horrible tonight.

  25. If we’re down by more than 20 points in the 4th, should we let the PG man of some mystery Kendall Marshall get some minutes or was the 3 minute sample enough to give Laker fans pause?

  26. Get Meeks in a cab.

  27. You’re right Ken. Maybe a PG wouldn’t really help out right now..maybe what they could use is, what’t the term I’m looking for here, a go-to player. Too bad they don’t have a player like that available. :/

  28. What you want Sasha back?

    Just one if those games.

    .500 team wins and losses.

  29. Just one if those games.
    .500 team wins and losses.
    __
    well put

  30. But wait a minute. I thought all the Kobe haters said we’re a much better team without him. So what happened? Oh yeah, we actually played a good team. And ON THE ROAD!!! Man, some people are just delusional. Smh

  31. Well, we’re a .500 team or less. Nothing more Nothing less. Ken, made a great point.
    Final thoughts: Lakers turnovers and bad shooting were their undoing. Good night Laker fans. Have a safe, wonderful Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. Take care.

  32. You really think current Kobe who was shooting 35% and averaging 5 TOs a game would have helped.

    Talk about delusional. Sure pre-injury Kobe. He is not here.

  33. This game wasn’t really about Kobe, or even the Lakers. It was a context thing. The first time the Lakers played this team in Oakland, they got killed. The second time, in LA, Curry was out, Iguodala got hurt halfway through, the Lakers had four days off coming in, and the Lakers won.

    This time, it was a b2b for the Lakers, Curry and Iguodala were there, and Pau, Blake, and Farmar weren’t. There was no reason to think that the Lakers would keep it close tonight, and they didn’t.

  34. And then reality set in, yeah better w/o Kobe.

  35. SEGABABA on the road against a good team while not having anything close to a full roster… This was a scheduled loss. Moving on…

  36. Fasten your seat-belts as the roller coaster ride continues. .500 or buss

  37. Spot players, playing major minutes. Getting tired wasn’t really a surprise, was it? When the legs start to go, the shooting follows immediately.

    This team has to expend so much energy playing a full GS team that it isn’t really shocking when the 2nd half pretty much falls apart.

  38. rr- I know full well that this loss wasn’t about Kobe. Just as our win two nights ago also wasn’t about playing without Kobe. :/

  39. “And then reality set in, yeah better w/o Kobe.”

    Fern, that wasn’t the sentiment. You have to know this. What I and others were saying is the other players look more egaged and seem to know what is going on when Kobe wasn’t there. Okay, you add him to the mix. Then everyone goes back to standing around again not know what to do. The result? The same as last night.

    No, the team is not better without Kobe. Thing is, they are not really better with him either.

  40. Hard to make judgements about better or worse after 6 games. What the team is with Kobe is *different*. And that requires adjustments. Why anyone wouldn’t be willing to give that adjustment time is beyond me, but that sentiment seems to exist. In some cases, very strongly.

  41. With this coach and system the current players have a better chance to play 500 ball.

    Other then Pau, none would get many minutes under Phil and the offense was better suited for Kobe.

    Under MD’s system the first 42 games the Lakers were horrible last year. That’s with Kobe getting his points and Howard on defense. Finally Kobe just took control and it appears ran what he chose to run.

    Conclusions this roster with this coach, running his system may not be suited to Kobe. We saw that last year. If and or when he is in shape he of course is still the best player on the team . But a run and gun MD offense will not work.

    Simple. So right now the slower, ball control Kobe was not benefiting this team, with this coach and this offense. This is still Kobe ‘a team and will remain so for better or worse the next 2.5 years.

  42. Bravo, Darius!

    Moreover, six games from a 35 year old player that hadn’t played any basketball in eight months. Those six games were his first games on the court after a major injury.

    Last night the team did not know how to go to another level to win the game, however the Warriors did. I saw players doing things that were not in their skill set; trying to dribble through several defenders instead of pass and shooting fall away jumpers on one leg. Playing hard works up to a point, but talent will always prevail in winning games. Thus, the need for Kobe, Nash and Pau at the end of games.

    Realistically, the Lakers have caught teams off guard, they are underestimating them, so the opposing team is not playing the Lakers at a heightened level. More of these lopsided loses will appear as teams position themselves for the playoffs.

    Regardless, the wins that this team has amassed thus far is admirable. Watching players get better is something this organization has lacked for years. Jackson did not have the time nor patience for players with no experience in the league. So the Lakers went the veteran route with players like Fox, Harper, Grant, Malone and Payton, et.al. I believe this was but one of the sources for the contention between Jackson and West. West was/is of the mind that you draft rookie players to develop in positions under veterans, i.e., Green-Rambis, Fisher-Van Exel and Thompson-Worthy, Cooper-Wilkes.

    I’m enjoying all of the players on the roster, even Shawne Williams whom I’ve maligned on several occasions. He’s actually been a good rotation player that can’t find his shot, and now he’s tentative even looking for his shot when he’s open.

    Looking for Farmar to get back and start to play at the level he did before the injury.

  43. Darius: Agreed with regard to “different” and the fact that the sample is small.

    Kobe Critics:  I will concede that during the small sample, the team played worse (so far). However there are a couple of points:
    1) Much like Chicago last year – the team is hopeful that if we can keep it together until the Super Star comes back, then we could be dangerous. If Kobe gets shut down, then the edge is off and the team could start losing (Chicago as example).
    2) OK – so the team played worse during the 6 games. What is the point? Don’t show me more stats, I already conceded they were worse. So what do we do? Bench Kobe for 2 1/2 years? Send MD and KB to an off-season commune together to help the absord each other’s offensive philosophies? Coast as the fun bunch – until Kobe retires? Anyone Anyone?

  44. When Kobe is not in the lineup the team looks like a mda team. When Kobe is in there things slow down. Do you ask Kobe to fit in or mda to rebuild the team around Kobe?

  45. Vasheed: Yes – but if that is the question – then should we not have asked it a couple of months ago?

    I guess I am leaning towards the commune.

    “Approach the game with no preset agendas and you’ll probably come away surprised at your overall efforts.” PJ

  46. Anyone Anyone?

    ________________________

    I sent you an email with my hit on this issue.

  47. Hard to make judgements about better or worse after 6 games

    Yeah, but this goes back to what I have often said the last two years when there has been talk here about adjustment periods, process, needing time to gel, etc. MDA has been coaching in the NBA for over a decade, and Kobe is one of the most scrutinized players of all time, with 18 years of data about him. So, there are things that we know before the games are actually played, and that is the case here. 6 games is a small sample, but that sample suggested the reality of certain things that we suspected going in, based on the data that we had.

    Yes, sometimes players and coaches make fundamental changes and/or improvements. Examples this year are Xavier Henry’s new and focused style of getting to the line giving him something on which to build an NBA career, and Brian Shaw’s adjusting to his personnel in Denver in his new role as a head coach. But Kobe and MDA have both been around a long time and are pretty set in their ways. So, like I said before the Toronto game: there will be challenges for both guys.

  48. rr: Indeed – and it was a very reasonable and rational response. I addressed my comment to “Kobe Critics”. You are not in that club : )
    And by the way, rr’s response covered both what he thought we were going to do, as well as what he thought we “should” do. For everyone else – my request is only what you would do if you were King : ) And it must be better than my commune idea.

  49. Bring back Jerry West.

    Remove Jim

    Trade Pau for 1st rounders and a real PG

    Convince Nash to retire

    Find a coach who has more then one trick pony.

    Feature Kobe around a group of younger players for the next 2 years.

    Get better TV announcer.

  50. is there a need to blame anyone?
    the circumstances are obvious and the solutions are only obvious after failures.

    everyone, FO, coach, and players are doing their best and working hard. at this time, there is no more that can reasonably be asked. the team deserves a pat on the back as long as they continue to compete.

  51. Robert, how do we know what this team would look like with Kobe in the lineup? We cannot base our opinion off those six games, small sample size or not, Kobe was playing pg and not the shooting guard or small forward so he extended energy merely bringing the ball up the court. With a pg on the team once the rebound is secured, Kobe can run down the floor which should speed up the offense while he’s on the floor. The Lakers have not passed the ball up the floor via a pass in years, they run to spots on the floor and stand still to set up the offense, even in this coach’s offense. Players line up at the three point line and occasionally probe getting someone else open by screening and motion.

    Regarding the front office and Kobe’s extension, either management made a mistake giving Kobe and extension or they made a mistake hiring this coach. Which one is it? Otherwise, it makes no sense that Kobe did not fit the offensive scheme of this coach but the Lakers gave him 24 million anyway. Or, is it that the coach will not be with the Lakers beyond this season, and Kobe will be the fall guy when he’s ran out of town?

  52. Interesting story on Team Stream of Jerry West on Dan Patrick show. States Kobe should have waited a few more months before coming back.

    Guess Jerry would be attacked on this site by some ,

  53. C Hearn: Yes – everyone on this site should commit your second paragraph to memory before any more posts !
    Ken: Nice list. The Pau trade is a little far fetched, but the rest seems reasonable : )

  54. Quoting Ken:

    Bring back Jerry West. — In what world would that be possible? Buss Sr. chose Phil over Jerry and as a result Jerry left. So you are saying that you hope Jim can convince him to come back despite the fact his father showed him the door?

    Remove Jim — Ok. And replace with who? Jeannie? How much experience does she have running this team? If not her, then who? Who? Who?

    Trade Pau for 1st rounders and a real PG — Of course. This is so easy to do. Why has no one on the Laker FO ever thought of it? Should be easy to do. I’m sure there are plenty of teams waiting to give us 1st rounders and all star PG for pau.

    Convince Nash to retire – Great idea. No issues here.

    Find a coach who has more then one trick pony. – Well, I think we will have to wait until the end of the season, but fine. Who is available that you would recommend? Remember that Phil Jackson said he is no longer interested in coaching. So who do you have in mind?

    Feature Kobe around a group of younger players for the next 2 years. – Ok. And how is this different than the team we have right now with the exception of Pau and Kaman?

    Get better TV announcer. – Could not agree with you more.