This evening, the Golden State Warriors (8-4) take on the Los Angeles Lakers (5-7). Tip-off will be at 7:30 P.M. (PST) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Warriors have a 1-0 record against the Lakers this season, winning on opening night (October 30th) 125-94. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Probable starters with stats of note:
PG- Stephen Curry (just call it a hunch) 19.9 PPG, 8.7 APG, 1.70 SPG
SG- Klay Thompson 20.6 PPG
SF- Andre Iguodala 13.5 PPG, 6.3 APG, 2.08 SPG
PF- David Lee 17.4 PPG, 8.8 RPG
C- Andrew Bogut 7.0 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.75 BPG
PG- Steve Blake 9.8 PPG, 7.3 APG
SG- Jodie Meeks 13.7 PPG
SF- Wesley Johnson 7.8 PPG, 1.58 BPG
PF- Jordan Hill 10.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG
C- Pau Gasol 13.0 PPG, 10.7 RPG
Team Offensive Statistics
FG%- .481, 3PT%- .449, FT%- .716, PPG- 101.2, (Misc.) RPG- 51.9, APG- 24.2, SPG- 9.9, BPG- 4.8
FG%- .428, 3PT%- .407, FT%- .709, PPG- 99.4, (Misc.) RPG- 54.8, APG- 24.3, SPG- 6.4, BPG- 6.1
Team Defensive Statistics
FG%- .420, 3PT%- .314, FT%- .730, PPG- 95.6, (Misc.) RPG- 51.3, APG 19.7, SPG-8.3, BPG- 3.8
FG%- .452, 3PT%- .365, FT%- .687, PPG- 103.8, (Misc.) RPG- 25.8, SPG- 9.8, BPG-4.7
How the Warriors should defend the Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t played since Nov. 17th. The Warriors should look to jump out on them early and catch them napping, so to speak.
Steve Blake: Blake seems to have replaced Derek Fisher as Lakers’ flop master and catch and shoot specialist.
He only drives right, and passes out of driving situations. All he really shoots are three-pointers. To put it into perspective, he attempted 270 shots last season and 171 were three-pointers. The Warriors should go for the steal when it’s in his left hand. Blake is slow, so the Warriors should leak out on him once in a while, and make him shoot in traffic.
Jodie Meeks: Meeks is a screen dodger, and a catch-and-shoot specialist.
But he doesn’t drive and is a poor ball handler. The Warriors should crowd him all game long, and make sure to stay down on the pump fakes. He’s a three-point shooter, so the Warriors should not double team off of him. They should try to make him take jumpers in traffic.
Wesley Johnson: Johnson likes to shoot it from three-point land and mid-range, specifically.
He prefers to drive right for pull-up jumpers. He also incorporates a step back and fade-away jump shot into his game. All that, and he shoots it at 40% for his career. However, Johnson attempted a mere 35 free throws last season. The Warriors should be physical with Johnson and if he goes cold dare him to shoot. A 34 percent shooter from downtown suggests “get a hand up” defensively. The Warriors should pressure Johnson to take his field goal attempts from the elbows.
Jordan Hill: Hill is an offensive rebounding machine who goes right back up with it quickly and efficiently — thee Lakers’ Charlie Hustle.
Hill doesn’t like to dribble the ball; he doesn’t have the hands for it. The Warriors should scrap and claw at the ball if he gets it in the flow of the offense. His only post-game is a drop step.
The Warriors should take a lesson from their own David Lee on how to defend that. Just last game, Lee had a beautiful strip on Zach Randolph that was unfortunately called a foul. What Lee did was retreat and slap down hard at the ball. A poor post defender like Hill needs to be posted up. Watch out for Hill jumping the passing lanes.
Pau Gasol: Gasol is a playmaker by nature, whether it’s delivering a pass or methodically out-maneuvering his oppenent. He also gets more action off screens than most.
Gasol is going to post up when he’s not playing pick-and-roll basketball. He has excellent hands, so the Warriors should play him honest. If he catches his opposition in the triple-threat, he’s most likely going to shoot it. When he drives, he loves to get going to his right. Gasol employs a jab step to get the defender leaning. Mid-range jumpers are in his repertoire, though they are only effective from the right elbow. He’s slow and has no hops, so the Warriors should go right ahead and dunk on him to their hearts delight.
Know your coaches:
Mike D’Antoni loves to run-and-gun, but doesn’t have the team speed to do so. The Warriors should stay away from being sucked into a half-court station to station battle with this team. They should look to push the tempo and get their offense early when they can. The Lakers are going to be an offense-first, guard-heavy, perimeter-orientated team. The Warriors should deny 3-point shooting, make this team put it on the floor, share the basketball…and win.