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The Golden State Warriors are looking to upset the Los Angeles Lakers in their play-in game on Wednesday night. There are two keys to getting it done.
Los Angeles may be the favorite in this one-off matchup between two teams from the Golden State, but the Warriors have the weapons to throw everyone’s expectations out of whack.
It all comes down to turning up in the right areas.
Someone besides Stephen Curry needs to step up
Stephen Curry is an MVP candidate because of his incredible run to finish the regular season. It’s not even a key for Curry to play up to that high standard; it’s a given.
The trouble for Golden State is they can’t win on Curry’s back alone. They need someone else to lift this team over the Lakers.
In an ideal world, that someone would be Klay Thompson, but he’s still injured (if he wasn’t, the Warriors wouldn’t be in the play-in). That means Draymond Green can’t settle for being a third. He’s got to be his best on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
In wins this season, Green has averaged 8.4 points, 10.2 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game. In losses, he’s put up 5.4 points, 7.2 assists and 6.1 rebounds a night. The difference there is clear.
Green isn’t the only one who could be that guy. Andrew Wiggins or Jordan Poole could also prove the difference.
Go fast or go home
The Lakers have an abundance of bigs. The Warriors are all about small ball. It’s essential Golden State plays this game on the run instead of getting into a half-court battle with LA.
Golden State has 6-foot-10 Kevon Looney at center. Los Angeles has Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, Kyle Kuzma and Andre Drummond at 6-foot-10 or taller.
The Warriors can’t hope to go toe-to-toe with the Lakers under the basket. So they’ll have to out-hustle them to every ball and push the pace at every possible moment.
Since Los Angeles isn’t an elite scoring team, a shootout benefits Curry and company.