The Golden State Warriors are favored to beat the Los Angeles Lakers by 13 points tonight.
Why? Because the Lakers are playing the back-end of a back-to-back on the road. Oh, and they’re without Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.
So yeah, it’s reasonable to give the Warriors — who play well at home — the edge in this matchup.
But that doesn’t necessarily bode well for the team by the bay, and this has all the markings of yet another trap game. You know, trap game, as in, “We have more talent than our opponent so we’re just going to go out there and fool around for 48 minutes and win the game while we’re at it.”
That’s exactly how the Warriors played against the Spurs on Thursday night, when San Antonio decided to rest Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili in addition to Tony Parker sitting out with an injury. The Warriors got out to a big lead, messed around and turned the ball over again and again, and for some reason, couldn’t stop the likes of Marco Belinelli, Kawhi Leonard, and Tiago Splitter. When they finally got around to playing their style of basketball again, it was too late.
Don’t look now, but this Lakers game could weave a similar tale. With Bryant and Nash out, Pau Gasol is the only established threat in the lineup. But take a look at the scoresheet last night from the Lakers’ win over the Timberwolves and you’ll quickly realize that it’s not just Gasol. Xavier Henry (who?) had 21 points. Jodie Meeks finished with 17. And Nick Young came off the bench to score 25, including a dagger three-pointer late in the game.
No Kobe? No problem.
This is the NBA, and no matter what a team’s record or roster shows, these are still NBA players that must be taken seriously. The Warriors didn’t take the Spurs seriously. Hopefully they’ve learned their lesson and can put together a solid 48 minutes tonight.
Because otherwise, being favored by 13 points means absolutely nothing.