Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors Preview
Ever since LeBron James returned to the Lakers lineup this week, he likely had this game against the Golden State Warriors circled on his calendar. The last time he played the Warriors was on Christmas Day in a win for the Lakers, but it was also when James went down with his groin injury. The last time James saw the Warriors, DeMarcus Cousins was also in a suit on the sidelines. Having both players back should make for an interesting Saturday night prime time matchup on National TV.
With the Warriors recent 11-game sweep busting loss to Philadelphia on Thursday night, and the Denver Nuggets winning their last game, the Warriors are in second place in the West with a 36-15 record. They are 9-1 in their last 10 games. The Lakers won their last game and are 4-6 in their last 10. Overall, they are 9th in the West with a 27-25 record and one game away from the Clippers for 8th place.
The last time the teams met was on January 21. With James sidelined, the Warriors strolled to a 130-111 win as Los Angeles could not cool down Klay Thompson, who had 44 points. Ivica Zubac led the Lakers with 18 points. Both teams will be looking to take the lead in the season series tonight.
Time: 8:30pm ET
Arena: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
James returned to action on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Lakers got the win, but it didn’t come easy as the game went to overtime in the 123-120 win for the Lakers.
James is also obviously not on any minutes restrictions as he played 40 minutes, and had a near triple-double with 24 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists. With James back, they had no problems scoring, but they also didn’t stop the Clippers from doing so as seven Clippers finished in double figures.
Kyle Kuzma and Ivica Zubac, who have had to step up in James’ absence, played limited minutes on Thursday night, so they were not as much of a factor as they have been, but the Lakers had some big performances from some of their role players. Brandon Ingram scored 19 points, Lance Stephenson came off the bench for 20 and Rajon Rondo, who has been rumored in a trade proposal for Anthony Davis, had 14 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in what could be a showcase game.
Josh Hart continues to struggle for the Lakers. He was looking like a standout when James was first injured, but he has only scored 10 or more points in one of his last 11 games. Hart has suffered with some knee tendinitis, which seems to have been an issue in the past, but he says not allowing himself to fully rest and recover during the offseason has meant it’s been nagging him throughout the season. Hart hasn’t always been a full participant at practice with the latest flareup, but he continues to play in games. He was 1-4 from the field and 0-for-1 from beyond the arch for two points on Thursday.
Golden State Warriors Starting Lineup
The Lakers will likely have revenge on their minds tonight for more than one reason. They’ll want to avenge their last loss to the Lakers at Oracle on Christmas Day, they’ll want to get past the 104-113 loss the Philadelphia on Thursday night, which ended their winning streak at 11 games, and they’ll also have their sights set on regaining first place in the West.
Golden State was without Klay Thompson against Philadelphia. He will be a game-time decision for tonight. WIthout one half of the Smash Bros., the Warriors still made a run at it and got within eight points of the 76ers before everything unraveled.
The Warriors’ defense did a great job of limiting several of Philadelphia’s role players and some starters, including Jimmy Butler, but Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid scored 26 points apiece. Embiid also had 20 rebounds and got the better of DeMarcus Cousins in their matchup. The Warriors did struggle with defending J.J. Redick without Thompson. Redick hit some late-game daggers that eventually killed the Warriors’ comeback hopes.
Cousins continued to play limited minutes and probably struggled the most in Thursday’s game than he has in any of his other games since making his debut. Stephen Curry did everything he could to will the Warriors to a win with 41 points, and Alonzo McKinnie played well in Thompson’s absence with 11 points, but it’s clear they were missing their starting shooting guard.
Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors Betting Odds
The Golden State Warriors are 10.5 point favorites to get the win tonight at home. The over/under is 236 points and there has been no line movement since the Warriors opened at -600. Against the spread, the Lakers are 23-12-17 and the Warriors are 22-14-15.
Los Angeles is 11-13 on the road and 7-13 as the underdog. Golden State is 18-7 at home and 35-11 as the favorite.
Bet on Matchup
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