The Lakers had a chance to beat the OKC Thunder last Friday with a Kobe Bryant jump shot, but the Black Mamba missed. Let’s see what kind of Lakers will host the Golden State Warriors.
The Golden State Warriors Can Win Because…
They're the much better team. Golden State is doing everything comfortably, and that’s the best thing one can say about a basketball team. The Warriors average roughly 10 points more than their opponents, having entered Monday night’s game with Sacramento averaging 107.5 points on offense and 97.6 on defense. The Warriors entered this season having established a defensive foundation, but their offense is now more fluid and free-flowing than ever. Golden State has the third-best offense in the NBA, behind Toronto (second) and Dallas (first). Coach Steve Kerr is getting just about everything he wants from his roster.
Consider the balance and the high-level consistency the Warriors are putting out. They entered Monday night’s game against Sacramento having been the third-best offensive team in the league, as mentioned above. They were the third-best rebounding team heading into Monday night. They had the third-most assists in the league, and they were ninth in points allowed. That’s a complete team profile, a representation of such balance and airtight strength that no other NBA team can match. Other Western Conference teams are still finding themselves or are falling off the pace (as is the case with a Memphis ballclub that has suddenly lost four in a row), but Golden State keeps chugging along, 9-1 in its last 10 games.
The Los Angeles Lakers Can Win Because…
Their competitive drive remains strong. It’s true that the Lakers are only 4-6 in their last 10 games, but Los Angeles is a team that is regularly knocking on the NBA odds door , competitive even when not winning. The Lakers very nearly toppled Oklahoma City last Friday, playing the Thunder well despite the return of Russell Westbrook to a revived OKC squad. The Lakers also average 102.1 points per game, a level of production not expected from their offense before the season began. The Lakers know that Kobe Bryant is missing a lot of jump shots, so it’s impressive that they’re finding enough ways to score and not get run out of the building.
The Warriors are a really good team, but it has to be pointed out that they’re on the second end of a back-to-back set of games, and even for the best teams in the league, that second half of a back-to-back can be tricky. Everything’s been swimming along so smoothly for the Warriors, but as an NBA season marches along, points of friction are going to emerge, and since the Lakers have a way of hanging around in games, they could be there late in the fourth quarter, ready to steal a win.
The Warriors are the much better team, and that's why we are making them our NBA pick. They can win a game in so many different ways, which is a big key. They can win with offense or defense. They have enough resources to turn back the Lakers, regardless of how their legs feel.
Free NBA Pick: Golden State