We are in for another installment of LeBron James Vs. Stephen Curry as the Lakers and Golden State Warriors battle it out in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. The theme of game one is Rest Vs. Rust as the Warriors come off a seven-game series against the feisty Kings while the Lakers dispatched the Grizzlies in six. Even with a minimal turn around period, my prediction is that the Warriors blitz the Lakers defense with their elite shooting ability and comfortably cover the spread.
LA Lakers vs Golden State Warriors Prediction
The Pick: Warriors -4.5
No rest no problem as the Warriors are going to be a sharp contrast of offense from what the Lakers were just accustomed to and blitz them into a deficit. After a series of sagging into the interior to mitigate the slashing production of Ja Morant, the Lakers are now going to have to creep back up to respect the Warriors perimeter shooting.
This normally would not be an issue as the Lakers rank second in the league in Opposing Three Point Completion Percentage per TeamRankings by holding opponents to a lowly 34.2%. The issue is that history indicates that LeBron James led teams struggle to establish a working defensive scheme early in the series as he has gone an astonishing 4-14 SU in road game ones per StatMuse. Going against a completely different offensive identity will do them no favors in this one as the Warriors offense is capable of burying you in an instant.
The other glaring issue in the Lakers defensive scheme is that they will have to shadow the perimeter with help coverage by having a second defender near both Russell and Reaves. This opens up more room on the opposite end for either Klay Thompson or Stephen Curry to exploit with their quick release for a high-quality look at three. Lakers may bring up a big from the paint to fly to the ball on the pass, leaving the interior open for a slashing man against an offense that thrives in motion sets. Simply put, this offense will be tough to stop.
LA Lakers vs Golden State Warriors Betting Odds
Even against a different Lakers identity, oddsmakers still believe in the Warriors to start out the series on the right foot by opening them as a -4.5 favorite. Bettors have yet to take a firm stand on either side of the spread, keeping the number the same since the opener. This hovers right above the key number of four, keeping my wager small for the time being with hopes of adding more should it tick down before tipoff.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a quick pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 228. This number has taken on all sorts of movement, going up to 228.5 early on before crashing down to as low as 227 as of writing in some shops. The Lakers ability to generate their interior offense brings question marks as Kevon Looney has been a revelation near the rim since the start of the playoffs by limiting second chance opportunities.
- Lakers are 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings against each other
- Warriors are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games against teams with a losing SU road record
Can the Warriors limit Anthony Davis in the interior?
Anthony Davis Vs. Warriors interior defense
It’s a contrast of offensive schemes as the Lakers offensive production resides on their ability to generate looks near the rim. This is heavily correlated to Anthony Davis, playing as one of the best scoring big men in the league when healthy.
It will be intriguing to see how the Warriors adapt to this in a lineup perspective. Opting to throw more minutes at Looney in an attempt to have a true big between Davis and the basket while Draymond is assigned to LeBron.
Should that be the case, we may see a second defender sag down to double Davis and dare the Lakers to shoot over the top. An effective method as the Lakers are a poor shooting team by ranking 18th in Effective Field Goal Percentage by shooting 54%. The Warriors are also an elite rebounding unit, limiting the Lakers second chance opportunities by crashing the boards.
Back the Warriors in what will be a statement win in game one as their hyper efficient shooting offense will blitz the Lakers defense into an early deficit.
LA Lakers Starting Lineup
Golden State Warriors Starting Lineups
LA Lakers Injuries: LeBron James (P), Anthony Davis (P), Mo Bamba (Q)
Golden State Warriors Injuries: Patrick Baldwin Jr (Q), Andre Iguodala (O), Ryan Rollins (O)