LOS ANGELES — The Lakers have yet another chance to put away the defending champion Golden State Warriors. And this is their only shot on defeating them in Los Angeles. Otherwise, Game 7 will happen in a hostile environment in San Francisco.
The talk about this was already extremely stupid from social media to the mainstream media themselves. It’s a lot of loaded bull from a lot of these people. But the update is that Anthony Davis is not in the concussion protocol and he’s listed as probable for Game 6. I’m happy that he’s healthy so let’s move on.
On the other side, Andrew Wiggins is questionable because of a fracture in the ribcage area. It happened late in the game on a boxout. Wiggins has been huge in the last couple of games for the Warriors and I hope he can play in this game. I want everyone to be healthy!
As far as the basketball goes, the Lakers need to play with sustained energy. I think the 17-5 hole they got themselves into in Game 5 was the game. Yes, they were able to tie it back but the Warriors just had more energy throughout the contest. They built another huge lead in the second and third quarters and the Lakers could only get it down to 9 points before succumbing. The Lakers need to get off to a good start against these explosive Warriors.
It would be good if the Lakers can close out better on the Warriors’ threes. Part of what doomed them in the first half was that Golden State made 11 threes. Dubs only made two in the second half but by then, the damage had been done. Stephen Curry is going to have the ball a lot as they try to pick-and-roll the Lakers to death. The Lakers are likely going to continue to switch everything while Davis does his best to protect the paint.
On the offensive end, the Lakers have to hunt Curry on match-ups. It’s not that Curry’s a bad defender but they have to make him work extra hard and see if he’ll have enough juice on both ends of the court. They’ll have to take Draymond Green out of the game, too (get him in foul trouble, don’t let him set the tone on either end, etc.). The Warriors do like their small ball line-up with Gary Payton II starting and they’re likely going to continue to do that in Game 6.
But even this small line-up outrebounded the Lakers by 10 in Game 5. There might be a lot of strategies involved with these two teams with all the cross match-ups, pick-and-rolls, defensive looks, etc. But it all might come down to energy and imposing their will on the other. These two teams are going to keep their profiles: the Warriors are going to continue to shoot from afar and run pick-and-rolls while the Lakers will continue to be physical, attack the paint, and get to the free throw line.
The Lakers either need huge performances from their two stars (that would be Davis and LeBron James) or have a third player come up with a big performance (a la Lonnie Walker IV in Game 4). The Warriors still need to get Klay Thompson going, who has been out of rhythm the last two games. Jordan Poole was unplayable in Game 4 but got it going a bit in Game 5. He might need to come up big for the Warriors on Friday night.
I’m sure L.A. would rather get it done as soon as possible. Denver has already advanced to the Western Conference Finals. A bubble WCF rematch could be looming.
Either way, the Lakers get a second chance to send the champs home. I’m sure they don’t want to go back to Northern California for a Game 7.
And if that happens, anything is possible.