As the Warriors got the 20 point win over the Kings, and the Lakers beat the Grizzlies,
we will be seeing the battle we have been waiting for. King James vs Steph Curry. After the 4 year battle between 2015 and 2018 that resulted in one of the most entertaining series in NBA history, Lebron James and Stephen Curry will meet up one more time in the 2nd round of the playoffs.
We’ve seen this battle before, and we know that it will be an exciting matchup, however
both the Warriors, and the Lakers have seen some changes that will be big factors in the
outcome of this series. Even in the last 30 games, the Lakers have changed a lot, coming out of the trade deadline with a different mindset and the will to win.
The Warriors also look different as well. The Warriors still have the Splash Brothers, and
Draymond Green, but the additions of Kevon Looney, Wiggins, and Poole have added depth to this squad. In the last game of the Warriors vs Kings series Stephen Curry scored 50 points to become the player to score the most points in game 7, and boosted himself to 13th on the all-time scoring list. As the Grizzlies and Lakers series came to a close there was some trash
talk to the Lakers, and the Lakers had a chip on their shoulder and took the series 4-2.
Both teams are coming into this series with a lot of confidence. Draymond Green even
spoke on how Steph Curry inspired the team going into game 7 against the Kings, and after the 50 point performance by Steph Curry, it’s hard to say that he will go down without a fight. The same could be said about the Lakers. To go from a team who didn’t look like a playoff caliber team, to making and winning in the play-in tournament, and then beating a higher seed in the playoffs takes a lot of Grit, and that will be a common theme in this next series beginning on Tuesday, May 2nd. With that being said, here are 2 things each team will have to keep in mind as they go on to the next round.
- Draymond Green can’t let his frustrations get the best of him. In the series against the Kings, Draymond Green got frustrated due to Sabonis grabbing onto his leg during the game, and not only faced a flagrant 2, but he got suspended in the game as well. Without Draymond Green, the Kings were able to tie the series and while he may not be the most impactful player on the team, he definitely is a game changer for the Warriors. That wasn’t the first time we’ve seen Draymond Green get frustrated and kicked out of a game. He is one of the top players in the NBA right now in technical fouls this season, and the Warriors will need him in this series every game.
Draymond Green will need to be in the game as he will be responsible for Anthony Davis. Davis has been on a tear recently and he is averaging a double double in points (25.6) ,
and rebounds(12.5). He also is leading in postseason blocks with 4.3 so Draymond Green will not only have to try to hold him under that threshold, but he will have to work hard to be able to get some inside points. He will be an essential member of the Warriors squad and he will have to remain calm and collected in this series.
- The Warriors can’t step off of the gas; In the series against the Kings, it seemed like the Warriors let off of the gas and allowed it to become a 7 game series even though they were capable of shutting the Kings down. Game
7 showed what the Warriors are truly capable of and we need to see that game 7 play every game in the Lakers Vs Warriors series. I’m not saying that Curry will need to drop 50 points every game, but the Warriors need to keep that same energy going on.
The Lakers seem like a much harder team than the Kings, and the Warriors will need to
all be on the same page and play with cohesion as the series begins. The way they forced the Kings to take bad shots on the defensive side was a big factor in getting the win in game 7. The Warriors ball movement when they are playing cohesively is beautiful, and leads them to taking great shots. Having this chemistry and energy could allow them to go on to winning the Western Conference. When the Warriors let up, they fall bad, and they can’t afford that when going up against Lebron James.
- Perimeter Defense has to be on lock down. The Lakers will have to play defense on the inside and outside, however the perimeter defense will be the biggest factor when it comes to shutting down the Warriors. Steph Curry in his career is averaging 42.8%, Klay Thompson is averaging 41.6%, and 34.7% from beyond thearc. All 3 of these players are known for their exceptional perimeter play and the Lakers will have to be able to shut that down or we may see losses on their side, especially considering they don’t shoot as well from the 3.
They should worry about the inside as well, but Anthony Davis has shown in the last
series that he can handle the inside with his 4 blocks per game. If they can shut down the 3, that takes away a lot of opportunities for the Warriors. If they play 100% from the perimeter, and force the Warriors to be sloppy, they are highly capable of getting the Win. The Warriors were sloppy in a couple of the games against the Kings, and couldn’t establish their plays which led
to some losses, and the Lakers need to get the Warriors frustrated with their offense, and make offense out of their defense.
- Austin Reaves is a game changer. When Russell Westbrook was on the team, the squad seemed to overlook Reaves for the player that he was. He isn’t just a role player for the Lakers, but if he heats up, it’s proven to be dangerous for the other team. The Warriors are going to come out the gates with their eyes focused on Lebron James and Anthony Davis which will give Reaves time to shine. We saw that against the Grizzlies as well in game 1 and game 5 where he contributed 23 points to the
squad. Ever since the Trade deadline, Reeves has been a different player, and he seems to have come out of his shell, proving himself to be an essential member of this squad. If he goes
overlooked by the Warriors, I think we will see a 20+ point game out of him in this series.
Predictions For the Series:
With those notes in mind, and other factors here are my predictions for the series:
I think that this will be a 6 game series with the Warriors ending up on top. Game 1 will really show what each team is capable of and where they lie, but I think game 1 and 2 will go to the Warriors. They are playing at home, and have the confidence from the end of the series against the Kings giving them some momentum early in the series.
When the Warriors go on to face the Lakers, this is where I think they lose as the Lakers will be able to find out how the warriors play and will apply pressure on them. This would tie the Series. Then I think the last two games will fall on which team has the most depth and this is where I think the Warriors have the upper hand on the Lakers. The Warriors have a strong squad with the splash brothers, Green, Poole,
Looney and Wiggins, whereas the Lakers really have 2 all-stars and Austin Reaves. The first game will be this Tuesday, at 9pm