The Lakers face off against the Warriors for the second time this week. The previous two games were close but ended in overtime losses. I predict a Laker win tonight because I’m bad at analysis and I’m hyped after the win in Houston that saw Kyle Kuzma score a career high 38 points.
The joke is always that Los Angeles nightlife is undefeated. The reality is the Warriors would be ten point favorites if their bench was in Hyde. They are historically good. This Laker squad, young by boy band standards, competes.
On the injury front, Steph Curry is still out with an ankle sprain. Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala are also questionable — though Green will presumably play with a sleeve on his injured shoulder. With a game tomorrow against the Nuggets you can expect the Warriors to rest most of their impact players. Kevin Durant will play to prevent ESPN from having an aneurysm.
The Lakers for their part will be without Brook Lopez. Expect the team to start someone at center that will annoy Lakers Twitter. Much was made over the minutes of Julius Randle last game (8min), he should see a significant increase. Of course predicting Randle playing time is a fool’s game. I’ll spare you the discussion of his role and me casting bones to predict his minutes.
The key to this game, regardless of lineup, will be to repeat whatever it is they did in Houston. That is, we need over 20 points from Kyle “Reed’s Favorite Son” Kuzma. Lonzo Ball (11/6.8/6.5/1.4/1.5 in December) will need to fill the stat sheet. Josh Hart has played solid minutes and will hopefully get some run. Thankfully this game is in the bay area, KCP will have a short commute from Alcatraz to the court. A rested Kentavious should help against the Warriors (27th in Turnovers on the season).
In games like these the outcome is much less important than the journey. Watch the Lakers expanding use of Horns Sets and off-ball screens. The Lakers have some surprisingly good shooters off screens: Ball, Hart, KCP, and Clarkson. Look for the team to continue to improve their legal and illegal screening (we see you Bogut) to that end.
The Warriors are on a ten game win streak. This young squad needs to put a rock in their sling, meet the Warriors on the field, and take down an unstoppable giant. (This last one is for Rob Pelinka as I assume he reads FB&G)
The odds are bad tonight. The team is young. If we have learned nothing over the last three years, enjoy the game tonight boys and girls. In five years’ time, these be the days.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on ESPN.