The Lakers are back in action vs. the Warriors on Saturday night, a primetime ABC game in a contest that probably does not deserve such slotting.
The Lakers are not playing their best basketball, just losing to the Rockets in a game where they succumb to the small ball stylings of Houston while not trying nearly hard enough to shape the terms of engagement. The Warriors, meanwhile, remain one of the worst teams in the association, and have just traded away D’Angelo Russell for Andrew Wiggins and a couple of draft picks and salary dumped Glen Robinson III and Alec Burks to the 76ers for cap savings.
In other words…I’m not sure what to expect from this game. The Warriors will surely play hard and with Wiggins in the lineup, they’ll be trying to integrate a new player. But they’ll also be relatively shorthanded — GRIII and Burks were key rotation players who helped them. The Lakers may or may not play hard, and maybe it won’t matter at all. They’ve more talent and could get away with playing hard for all of 8 total minutes this game and still pull out the win.
If you were on twitter, you might just say #thisiswhytheratingsaredown and call it a day.
If trying to break down the action we could see, this really does come down to the Lakers playing to their talent level and to their strengths. Agains the Rockets, the Lakers determined the best way to win was to go with AD at Center and play mostly smaller in order to try to defend the pace and space Houston attack. Against the Warriors, the Lakers would be wise to dictate things more, playing bigger, attacking the paint, and rebounding the hell out of the ball on both sides. If they can also get some 3’s to fall, they’ll be fine.
We’ll see if this is the tack they take, though. The Lakers are surely looking forward to the all-star break and a chance to recharge their batteries, both physically and emotionally in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s passing. This team has been reeling and more than whatever bumps and bruises they’ve felt, they need a break mentally. This really has been a taxing season. Here’s hoping they can get a win tonight. That always helps.
Where you can watch: 5:30pm start time on ABC.