For the first time in years, the Warriors are a playoff lock and the Lakers are looking for a much needed win to keep their postseason chances alive. Golden State hopes to spoil those chances the way the Lakers have done to them so many times before.
Coming into the matchup, the Lakers are just one game up on the Utah Jazz, who own the tiebreaker. It is a must win for L.A.’s prized roster that was supposed to lead them into the promised land. Instead, they are simply looking to lead themselves into the postseason. But Kobe Bryant and David Stern will stop at nothing until the Lakers clinch a playoff berth.
The NBA needs the Lakers to make the playoffs. Nobody wants to watch the Jazz. The Lakers are must see T.V. It’s Hollywood reality television every night for the whole world to see.
The Lakers are looking for their 10th consecutive home win over the Warriors, but they will need another huge game out of their star Kobe Bryant. Bryant is coming off his highest scoring game of the season against the Portland Trail Blazers in which he dropped 47 points to go along with eight rebounds, five assists, four blocks, and three steals. You can say he’s dragging his Lakers squad across the finish line.
Bryant has scored more points against the Warriors in his career than any other opponent. He has averaged 32.3 points, nine rebounds, and five assists against them this season.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will have to counter Kobe’s offensive output. The Warriors backcourt duo ranks first and third respectively in three-pointers made and have combined for 455 of them. The Warriors are the best three-point shooting team in the league at 40%.
David Lee will need to bounce back from a subpar 13 point performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder and have a big game against Lakers bigs Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard.
Howard has only averaged 9.3 points and 9.7 rebounds against Golden State this season. He is due for a big game against them and tonight could be the night.
The Warriors will be without big man Andrew Bogut, who sprained his surgically repaired left ankle in last night’s contest. This loss comes at a tough time for a Golden State team who needs some big wins down the stretch in order to maintain sole possession of the conferences sixth seed. They are currently just a half game up on the Houston Rockets, who own the tiebreaker. The W’s will miss Bogut’s presence against the Lakers big time.
It is sure to be a playoff-like atmosphere in Staples Center tonight in what is the Lakers biggest game of the season.
The Lakers lead the season series 2-1.
Tip off is at 7:30 PM PT.
You can follow Rich Peters on twitter @Tricky_Roma.