I’m not going to lie, I’m tired of writing game previews for these Lakers games against the Warriors. The Lakers played this team 4 times in the preseason and this is now the 4th time they’ve played in the regular season. Eight times since September is overkill.
It’d be one thing if the Warriors had everyone healthy. They don’t. Steph is still out. Klay was recently ruled out for the season. Draymond is playing and still putting in effort (well, mostly), but having him as the lone star available is like taking the engine out of your camaro and strapping it to a unicycle. It’s not going to work the same way, you know? Andrew Wiggins looks pretty good in his new digs, too. Anyways.
If there’s any intrigue to this game it’s that LeBron is out with a sore groin. Maybe he hurt it on Josh Hart’s face. Or maybe he’s load managing and just needs a game off. In any event, to this point in the season the Lakers have not played that well when LeBron has been on the bench, so if you extrapolate that out to when he’s going to miss an entire contest, things could be rough.
The flip side of that, though, is that when a player doesn’t play at all, it creates a different vibe than when he does play and is just out for his regular rest. When a star like LeBron is out, the players who fill into his minutes understand their role will grow, that their minutes are nearly guaranteed. That can create more comfort in their role for that game, which can lead to better play.
There’s also the chance that there’s a certain letdown from opponents who no longer have to reckon with LeBron — I mean, when you know a player that good is coming back into the game in 6 minutes, there’s an instinct to make a push when he’s out. Whether that happens tonight with these Warriors remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a possibility.
So, if you’re looking for an angle for this game, there it is. The Lakers are playing without LeBron and the Warriors are a bad team. Maybe that makes this game interesting. Maybe it makes it something you don’t even want to watch because the stakes just got lower and there’s diminished star power. I, however, will be tuning in. Join me, won’t you?
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TNT.