The Warriors have lost six straight to the Los Angeles Lakers, including the last three meetings at Oracle Arena. Golden State has beaten Miami, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, the Clippers. But the Lakers hump they have yet to climb. No doubt Golden State has some unfinished business to take care of against their SoCal rivals.
Here is what it will take.
1. Win the battle of the boards. The Lakers are right up there with the Warriors in rebounding. The Warriors are 9th in the league in rebound percentage and the Lakers are 10th. But Los Angeles has outrebounded Golden State in both meetings this year. The Lakers totaled 31 offensive rebounds, leading to 42 second-chance points.
2. Contain Metta World Peace. The last game at Oracle, he perhaps hurt the Warriors more than anybody, totaling 20 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. He took turns abusing Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes.
MWP tends to hurt the Warriors on both ends because he plays physical, even kind of reckless, and imposes his will. Golden State can’t let him go off. And they can’t let him be a bully out there.
3. A Big Game from David Lee. Mr. 20 and 10 will need to have one of his better performances. The Warriors simply cannot become a jump-shooting team. They need to play inside and out. Because late in the game, when the jumpers aren’t falling, they’ll need something else to hang their hat on. Or, if they start with an inside presence, it could open up the looks for later in the game.
Either way, Lee needs to be a problem for the Lakers interior. Whether he is abusing Pau Gasol or getting Dwight Howard into foul trouble, he needs to be a star.
4. Dominate the point guard match-up. This will be harder to do if Stephen Curry is out with a sprained right ankle, which we will find out today. But the Warriors have to make the Lakers pay whenever Steve Nash or Steve Blake are on the floor.
Jack showed last game he can get whatever shot he wants. If Curry plays, they won’t leave those two on him for long (or alone), but who ever they are guarding needs to take advantage of their porous defense.
5. Keep it from being close at the end. Kobe Bryant burns the Warriors every time. If the game is close down the stretch, he will take over. The Oracle crowd, the audacity of the Warriors thinking they’re something, the celebration antics of Golden State’s bench, a comment from Joe Lacob on the sideline — something will trigger Kobe and he will turn it up.
The Warriors need to prevent that by getting a nice cushion for down the stretch.
You would think the formula would be for Bryant to have to win it alone. The Lakers haven’t proven to be good when he does it all by himself. He’s third in the league in clutch points (scored in the last five minutes of games within five points), but the Lakers are a -6 during those times.
However, against the Warriors, he always seems to come through. That’s largely because the supporting cast produces, saving Kobe to be the closer.