However, there are still some question marks headed into Monday night’s contest for the Warriors regarding the status of their star point guard Stephen Curry.
Curry, who has been playing the best ball of his young career, rolled his surgically repaired right ankle on Saturday night and is listed as a game-time decision. Curry walked through Monday morning’s shoot around and has been receiving treatment on his ankle all day. However, according to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News at 5 PM (PT), “Steph Curry usually is well into his pre-game routine by now.” But he had not been seen. He is averaging 24 points and seven assists in the month of March.
The presence of a healthy Curry will be vital for the Warriors, who have yet to defeat the Lakers this season. In a tight Western Conference, the Warriors are currently sitting in the sixth seed with the Lakers just 2 1/2 games behind them in the eighth seed. This is a big matchup as teams are jockeying for positioning down the stretch of the regular season.
The Warriors were torched by Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during the season’s two prior meetings, giving up 27 and 34 points respectively. Bryant has scored more points against the Warriors than any other team in his career and will be looking to add to that total as he tries to will his team into the postseason.
Golden State was also out rebounded in those last two meetings and hopes that the addition of a healthy Andrew Bogut can help solve that problem. Bogut was recovering from an offseason ankle surgery during the last two meetings and will need to have his biggest game of the season against Lakers big man Dwight Howard.
Howard has been relatively quiet against Golden State this season but was still struggling to recover from his offseason back surgery and a torn labrum. He and his Lakers team have been playing better as of late and are finally all getting healthy in time for what they hope is a deep playoff run.
This is a huge game for the Warriors, who are looking to prove to their rivals that they are a playoff contender and make things difficult for a Lakers team with a similar message.
You can follow Rich Peters on twitter @Tricky_Roma.