After a surprising win on opening night against their next door neighbors, the Los Angeles Lakers travel to their first road game of the season to play against the Golden State Warriors, making their first appearance with an upgraded squad and much higher expectations.
After making the conference semifinals last season, the Warriors are expecting to go even further this year, re-signing Andrew Bogut and adding Andre Iguodala, joining the firepower of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes and others.
Curry completed his transformation from promising talent into a borderline superstar in the league, averaging 22.9 points per game while establishing himself as the best three point shooter in the league. His goal this season is to become an even more varied and dangerous offensively. Against Steve Nash, who struggles against worse players on a nightly basis, he should have a smooth opening to the season.
The Warriors have turned from being an offensive juggernaut into a much more balanced team last season, and the arrival of Iguodala should further than transformation, just like he did for the Nuggets last year. It might mean less minutes for Klay Thompson, although the Warriors will probably use Iguodala as a small forward to start out games before messing around with bigger lineups later on, depending on the rival.
The Lakers surprised many by scoring 76 points off the bench, led by Xavier Henry with 22 points, beating the Clippers by 13 points on opening night. They got a weak night (only 3 points) from Nash and nothing too special from Pau Gasol, but they make up for their defensive defciencies regardless of the lineup by trying to play as fast as possible.
However, against the Warriors, that might not be enough, considering just how good the Warriors are at shooting from three. As long as the home team remains focused on defense, unlike the complacent Clippers, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem for Golden State to open the season with a win.
Prediction – Golden State are going to try going in a slightly different direction this season with Iguodala as the small forward, which means a better defense but a slightly smaller lineup to begin with. However, with all the changes, they’re a much better team than the Lakers in pretty much every aspect.