Are we going to witness history or the biggest upset of the young NBA season?
The Golden State Warriors are one win shy of making NBA history, becoming the first team to start the regular season 16-0. Their opponent for Tuesday night will be the Los Angeles Lakers, a team that has lost seven of its last eight games and are currently on a three-game losing streak.
While it has been a disappointing season for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, the defending champion Warriors have followed a 67-win season with a 15-0 start and are beating opponents by a margin of 14.4 points.
Golden State’s offense has been unbelievable, as they rank first in points per game, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and assists per game.
What’s more, reigning MVP Stephen Curry has been playing out of his mind, averaging 32.7 points, 5.7 assists, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.6 steals on 51.4 percent shooting from the field and 43.8 percent shooting from three-point territory, making 4.9 threes per contest.
Not only has Curry been mentioned in the MVP race this season, he is also in the running for Most Improved Player, which is an interesting feat.
So if you are the ailing Lakers, how do you stop the streaking Warriors?
It seems almost impossible, but the Lakers will at least need to move the ball more, something they have failed to do through most of the season. In fact, the Lakers are bottom five in assists per night.
“We’ve got to do a better job of trusting each other,” said Coach Byron Scott after Los Angeles’ 107-93 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday evening.
In that game, the Lakers only had 17 team assists led by D’Angelo Russell’s six. Russell did, however, have a pleasant game, recording 13 points and nine boards along with those six assists. But it was Jordan Clarkson who put up 19 points to lead the team in scoring.
Bryant, who actually started the game on 3 of 5 shooting on Sunday, ended the night going 6 of 22. He seems to not have any more lift in his jump shot, as many of his shots come up well short, and he is also taking very questionable shots.
However, Coach Scott has been defending Bryant’s shot selection, saying, “It could be [that], but first of all, he’s had 20 years of experience in the league. We might not have six players that have 20 years in this league combined. He has that privilege, basically…I want Kobe to be Kobe.” (via ESPN)
Meanwhile, the Warriors have been steamrolling through the season, as mentioned above. They are playing as if they were the ones who lost in the NBA Finals last season. But with history within their reach, Curry and Co. feel that they need to keep the focus.
“We want to keep it going and the only way you could do that is obviously staying sharp, staying focused, bringing effort every night, and that’s the mentality we have,” Curry said during Monday’s practice. (via Marcus Thompson)
The Warriors crushed the Denver Nuggets in their last game, 118-105, led by Klay Thompson’s 21 points, seven assists, and three rebounds. Despite his phenomenal performance against Denver, Thompson has yet to play up to his standards, but the team is still winning which is what matters most for Golden State.
Last season, these two teams met four times with the Lakers surprisingly winning one of those games, which was at the STAPLES Center.
Tuesday’s contest will be at 10:30 pm Eastern Time at the Oracle Arena televised nationally on TNT.