The Los Angeles Lakers return home from a hard fought four-game road trip to face the Golden State Warriors. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN at 7:30 PST.
The (2-3) Lakers went (1-3) on their road trip. They could have easily won a few more games, but nonetheless, they showed a lot of growth and determination to end their last game on the road with a win.
The Warriors will be the hardest opponent the Lakers will face early in this season. Unfortunately for the Lakers, this is only one out of three meetings against the Warriors this month alone. Although it is a difficult task and daunting challenge to face the Warriors, the Lakers have shown an uncanny ability to be close and competitive. Hopefully, this will continue with their matchup against the Warriors.
Here are some storylines and matchups to look out for
The coaching minds of Luke Walton and Steve Kerr:
Walton and Kerr are close friends during Walton’s tenure at Golden State. They still have an amicable relationship since Walton’s departure. A lot of Walton’s coaching philosophy has been influenced by Kerr. Walton understands what Kerr wants to do on the court and vice versa. It’ll be interesting to see what rotations Walton will use to matchup against the Warriors.
The point guard matchup between D’Angelo Russell and Stephen Curry:
Before Wednesday’s stellar performance against the Atlanta Hawks, D’Angelo Russell struggled with his shooting and scoring for the majority of their road trip. Russell will have the difficult job of guarding Curry on defense. There’s no way you can stop Curry from scoring. It is important for Russell to be aggressive and make Curry play defense against him. Russell should use his size and post up Curry down on the block, hopefully forcing Curry into foul trouble.
Who is going to guard Kevin Durant?
Kevin Durant is a matchup nightmare for the entire league. The Lakers are way a better defensive team in the second half of games than the first. It is important for the Lakers to bring their a sense of urgency and effort on defense for the entire game against the Warriors, especially against Durant. Durant will give the Lakers all sorts of trouble on offense, but this will provide a good learning opportunity for Brandon Ingram if the two matches up against each other.
The Lakers’ bench and of course Ivica Zubac:
During the Hawks’ game, the Lakers key reserves were Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr., and Tarik Black. That group was tremendous on offense and defense. Walton decided to play Williams and Clarkson as the primary backup guards instead of plugging Calderon or Huertas. It makes sense that look will go with a shorter rotation because Calderon is still trying to find his rhythm and Huertas’ lack of shooting hurts the Lakers on offense.
Ivica Zubac is 1-0 as a starter. He had a pretty solid game going up against the former top center, Dwight Howard. It is still unclear whether or not Timofey Mozgov will play on Friday because of his eye injury, Zubac could make his second start. How epic would it be if the Lakers win again with Zubac as a starter?