In a much-anticipated matchup during the preseason, the Los Angeles Lakers will play against the Golden State Warriors at 7:00 PM PST on NBA TV and Spectrum Sportsnet. After falling short of a comeback against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, the Lakers will look to snap their two-game losing streak against the new-looked Warriors led by Kevin Durant and company. A victory for the (3-1) Warriors will give them the ever-elusive fourth win in five games. Today’s game will give us an early glimpse of hopefully a potential rivalry in a few years.
The Lakers and the Warriors share a significant relationship with each other. The Lakers hired Luke Walton because they wanted to build a similar basketball culture to the one that Walton was a part of in Golden State. It has been only a few months since Walton has taken control of the Lakers, and one can feel and see the remnants that he brought over from the Warriors. The joyous personality, positive coach-to-player feedback and loud playing music in practice have all significantly changed the vibe surrounding the Lakers compared to last year. It was the Warriors who gave Walton an assistant job and a couple of years later let him go to the Lakers. Walton will try to one-up his buddy Steve Kerr.
Aside from the cultural semblances, one could say that the Lakers’ young core reflects the Warriors’ star players, or at least they try to. Since being drafted by the Lakers, D’Angelo Russell has compared himself to Stephen Curry. Although he played his rookie season under Byron Scott, Russell was the youngest player to hit over 130 threes in a season. Now, under Walton’s wing, Russell is playing the similar role of scoring and playmaking that Curry does for the Warriors. Russell played three extremely great games against average point guards but struggled when he faced Damian Lillard. It’ll be interesting to see how well he fares against Curry.
When the Lakers drafted Brandon Ingram, a lot of fans were drooling over the possibility of having the next Kevin Durant. Ingram had the privilege of competing against Durant during the USA Olympic training camp. Durant commented on the similarities that he saw with Ingram. The comparison might be unfair, but it was significant for a player of Durant’s caliber to see the potential in Ingram. Ingram is currently coming off the bench, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see him match up with Durant for parts of the game.
Today’s game will also give us a different look at the starting lineup. Lou Williams, who started the first five games, will have the night off, leaving the shooting guard position open. Brandon Ingram or Jordan Clarkson could fill that starter role in place of Williams.
After the game against the Warriors, the Lakers will have only two preseason games left (against the Warriors and Suns) before the regular season opener on Oct. 26th against the Houston Rockets. The Lakers’ roster is already down to 17 players after the first cuts. Today’s game could also serve as an indicator for the starters and rotations for the season.