The team with the best record in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers, heads north to take on the team with the worst record in the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors, on Saturday night. Both teams come into this one off losses.
For the time being, the Lakers have not made any moves, as the NBA trade deadline passed without anything changing. The next move for them would likely be to explore the buyout market in the coming weeks, with Darren Collison and JR Smith both serious possibilities to join the best team in the West.
The Lakers made the decision that they believed was best for them in keeping Kyle Kuzma, feeling that not making any moves was the best way to keep up with the teams that did make some.
Golden State, on the other hand, has made some significant roster decisions. And with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both out, they have just nine players available. Which is why they just doled out a pair of multi-year deals for their former two-way players, and signed a few guys to 10-day contracts.
The hope will be for newly-acquired Andrew Wiggins to make his team debut on this nationally-televised game. He will turn 25 in a few weeks and has several years on his contract to make an impact with Golden State.
The Lakers are 14.5-point favorites in this one, with the over/under set at 224.5.
Needing A Bounce Back
The Lakers are likely not fretting this battle too much, considering how short-handed their young opponents are going to be. They are coming off a loss to a Rockets team that did not use a center at any point during the game and will be facing off with an athletic Marquese Chriss this time around.
LeBron James could not find his rhythm when they needed it most against Houston, though he did throw down a dunk that few players in their 17th season are capable of finishing. When you have three big men who can hold it down for long stretches in the game, you’re going to be in pretty good hands most of the time.
The Warriors really don’t have anybody they can throw onto James to stop him, so he should be able to feast on this young club. He has a tendency to dominate against opponents that don’t stack up well, so expect a dominant night from the King.
The Warriors just traded two-fifths of their starting lineup, in addition to their sixth man. So if he suits up, Andrew Wiggins will be the clear top option in the offense. Damion Lee is going to see a significant role increase and likely slot back into the starting lineup, And after signing a multi-year deal, Chriss is likely going to be the starting center for the rest of the way.
The moving of Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans III puts more pressure on Kevon Looney to suit up, as his minutes have been low, so we’ll see if he can handle it.
Ky Bowman is likely going to start at point guard, with new 10-day signee Jeremy Pargo backing him up. Look for Juan Toscano-Anderson to get a few minutes at small forward off the bench.
This will be an easy win for the Lakers as they knock the Warriors off on Saturday night.
Free Play: LAL -14.5
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