Lakers

Lakers Face Toughest Test Yet

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For LeBron James, it’s a rematch for the ages. For Anthony Davis, it’s the ultimate test of his legacy. But for the Lakers, it’s the franchise’s most arduous journey since the Orlando bubble.

A seven-game series against the Golden State Warriors is one that any team would like to avoid. They present a mismatch for any team they are faced up against and have who many agree is the most dangerous offensive player in the Association— Stephen Curry.

Los Angeles showed just how good they could be in that 125-85 win in Game 6 against Memphis last round. If there is one thing they need to do going into this series, it’s to build on that.

KNOW YOUR GUYS

The major adjustment that was made by Darvin Ham to close out the Grizzlies was shortening his rotations from ten guys to eight. AD played the entire first quarter and minutes that typically went to Malik Beasley and Troy Brown Jr. went to more Wenyen Gabriel in the second.

In this second round, and especially against the Warriors, it’s important that Ham establishes a solid rotation rather than working his way down from 10 players. Beasley, for instance, probably should not see the floor this series because he is a liability on defense and his jump shot has simply disappeared.

This Golden State team is different from Memphis in more ways than one, so while you’d like to see the same guys we saw in game six, there should be different ways in which they are used. Like Dennis Schröder having a more prominent defensive role on Steph and Jordan Poole.

Other than that, it is up to the guys that are supposed to win you the games.

THE STARS NEED TO SHINE

One advantage the Lakers have in this series is star power. LeBron and AD must utilize their God-given talents to put LAL over the edge in this one.

For LeBron, it’s a tale as old as time. He has the most experience against this Warriors team in a playoff setting out of anyone. He is not the LeBron of the past, but he has certainly shown to be able to exploit this GSW defense.

This series is a bit different for Anthony Davis, though. Throughout his career, Draymond Green has been AD’s toughest matchup. In his most-recent matchup against the Warriors on March 5, AD dominated in LeBron’s absence, posting a 39/8/6 stat line and was a +17 in the game. AD is a different beast in the playoffs, and his recent display on defense can present a critical problem for the Warriors, especially when he gets going offensively.

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THE MATCHUP

This Warriors offense is nothing like the Lakers have been seeing this playoffs. Between Steph running around constantly, Dray’s moving screens, the all-around shooting, and Kevon Looney just dominating the boards, this LA defense is going to have their work cut out for them.

This offense is backed by an above-average defense led by Draymond. Buckets wont come easy for LeBron or AD which is why they will need consistent outputs from D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves.

Overall, though, this series means more than just the X’s and O’s. The Lakers are back to their winning ways and are now met with the team that has owned the last decade. A win this series lifts Los Angeles back up to where they are supposed to be.

MY PREDICTIONS

The entire outcome of this series is going to depend on whether the Lakers are going to get a consistent offensive output from AD or if he is going to take a couple nights off like he did last series. If we get the former, I can’t see GSW having an answer for LA’s offensive attack.

LAL can take advantage of the Warriors having just played a Game 7 and jump to a 1-0 start in the series and eventually split the series in the Bay. There is nothing like the Lakers and playing at home court so there is a good chance that they will go up 3-1 once again on the way back to Chase Center. And just like the last series, I expect the Lakers to drop Game 5 and move on in Game 6.

While the Warriors have a more proficient offense than that of Memphis — and a scarier point guard — I found myself more worried about the Grizzlies than I do the Warriors.

Lakers in 6.

Put on for LA with a collectible fit for a king. The LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers 2023 City Jersey Bobblehead is ready for its regal entrance.

About Connor Moreno

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