The skinny: What a delicious matchup – Steph Curry and the Warriors against LeBron James and the Lakers for the No. 7 seed in the West. Curry is an MVP candidate and can lead a team to victory with his scoring. But will James and Anthony Davis be too much for the Warriors? The Lakers won the season series 2-1 – a 117-91 victory on Feb. 28 and a 128-97 victory on March 15. The Warriors took the Jan. 18 matchup 115-113.
"I just get to focus on the now. I get to focus on today, focus on what's in front of me," he explained to the media. "I don't need to focus on what's going on tomorrow or the day after that.
"I think you guys [the Warriors] should rest everyone Wednesday," one of the hosts of FS1's "First Things First" show declared. "Just rest. Just rest. No reason to put Steph and Draymond [Green] through the humiliation of what's awaiting them, and the risk of injury and the extra wear and tear.
The Lakers had just a 71-day offseason to enjoy their 2020 NBA championship before the league embarked on its shortened 72-game season. Despite the short respite, LeBron James was shot out of a cannon to begin his 18th season, as L.A. stayed near the top of the Western Conference standings through the first half of the schedule and James garnered MVP buzz. Then the season went off the rails. Anthony Davis suffered a calf strain and Achilles tendinosis in his right leg that sidelined him for nine weeks. James had Solomon Hill dive on his right leg, causing a high ankle sprain that kept him out for six weeks. Contract extension talks broke down between the team and Dennis Schroder, and L.A. tried to trade him for Kyle Lowry. After the trade fell through, Schroder entered the league's health and safety protocols at the least opportune time with the Lakers fighting for playoff seeding down the stretch.
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While this a small sample of 309 possessions, the Lakers elevated opportunity to score inside during the regular season should be a focal point for Steve Kerr and the Warriors. Los Angeles has struggled to score outside of the paint all season and averaged a mere 108 points per 100 possessions since the All-Star break. The Lakers were 16-7 in games this year where they took 40 percent or more of their attempts at the rim.
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Bazemore isn’t going to light up a box score or turn in a sizzle reel of incredible plays. But he averaged 7.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and has shot 41.1% from three-point range on the season, which is the type of supplemental production Golden State would love to bring back — especially to a team that’s getting Klay Thompson back next season.
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