The (2-11) Los Angeles Lakers are in the bay area for a run against the (15-0) defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. This evening the Lakers will take the 20 minute ride on I-80 on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to Oakland. Oakland has 50 distinct neighborhoods, the Lakers could explore the sights and sounds of Lake Merritt, Fruitvale village, East Oakland, Oakland Hills also have a meal at the Brown Sugar Kitchen, Southern Cafe, Miss Ollies or just enjoy some ice cream at Fenton’s Creamery.
These two teams are reminiscent of two ships passing in the night, traveling in opposite directions, literally and figuratively. The unflinching reality, despite the enormity of the Lakers brand, this game pits a lottery team versus an NBA champion chasing history. The Warriors, taking everyone’s best shot, already tied the record for the best start by a defending NBA champion, favored to win by 17-points and the Los Angeles Lakers are the only obstacle between them and a historic 16-0 start.
NBA’s Best Starts (All-Time)
• 1948-49 Washington Capitals 15-0
• 1993-94 Houston Rockets 15-0
• 2015-16 Golden State Warriors 15-0
• 1957-58 Boston Celtics 14-0
• 2002-03 Dallas Mavericks 14-0
The three biggest questions heading into this contest, 1) Can the Lakers make it interesting? 2) How long can the Warriors continue to dominate the NBA? 3) Can the Warriors tie the 1971-72 Lakers, who won 33-consecutive games?
The Lakers had some success, scoring on the Warriors, but when asking can the Lakers make it interesting is basically asking can the Lakers put up a fight, score, rebound and play sound defensively. Stranger things have happened, although in reality, until proven, otherwise, not likely. The Warriors, having one NBA championship under their belt, some may think that their bellies would be full, but the scary thing is that this team is still hungry. How long will it last, only time will tell, but the prognosis looks good, although until the Warriors reach 25 straight wins, it is premature to even discuss 33 wins.
The Lakers on a three-game losing skid dropped the last two season series against the Warriors outscored 476-439 in 2014-15. The past two years marked the first times that the Lakers have lost a season series to Golden State since the Warriors won 2-3 in the 1994-95 season.
The Lakers are 31-11 all-time at Oracle Arena and had a 12-game win streak against the Warriors snapped in the last meeting of the 2010-11 season. The Lakers have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games at Oracle Arena. Kobe Bryant has scored 1,788 points against the Warriors the highest total against all opponents faced, averaging 27.9 points per game.
Thanks to the Warriors style of play, bucking the system and opting for skill over size, a small-ball virus has spread throughout the NBA. During their record-breaking start Golden State has not changed the approach that helped them win a championship, in the same fashion, the Warriors have perfected the method while continuing to dominate the NBA, coupled with silencing the remaining naysayers who were under the mistaken notion that the Warriors are just a jump shooting team that got hot at the right time and coincidentally was lucky enough to win it all.
The Warriors, under-estimated by many are solid defensively, very versatile, complete team that can beat you several different ways furthermore continue to display the toughness, competitiveness and resiliency needed for at least eight years of continued excellence. The Lakers have worked on their defense and rebounding. Although their turnovers and allowing way too many second-chance opportunities have been equally detrimental. The young Lakers can learn a tremendous amount from the Warriors. For any success, against the league’s number one scoring (114.5 points per game) and top assists (29.4 assists per game) team, it is imperative that the purple and gold improves in the areas the usual suspects that have led to their demise defense, rebounding, turnovers, second chance points.
Lakers: D. Russell, J. Clarkson, K. Bryant, J. Randle, R. Hibbert
Warriors: S. Curry, C. Thompson, H. Barnes, D. Green, F. Ezeli
Tip-off: 6:30 PM PST
• Los Angeles: TNT
• Golden State: TNT
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
• Golden State : KNBR (Tim Roye & Tom Tolbert)
• Julius Randle (Sore Big Toe, Left Foot) Day-to-Day