Preview: Warriors have a plan that seems to work
One game at a time!
The internet isn’t always great. But there are some parts of the experience that can make it all worth it. Yesterday, I was reminded that it was the anniversary of that iconic Baron Davis dunk. I don’t even need to say any more because I know everyone reading these words will know exactly which dunk I’m talking about. Anyways, it awoke something in an already ravenous fan base. (In me, even.) Casuals who only went for the Great Time Out deal where you got a free hot dog, drink, and bag of chips with your ticket were suddenly transformed into ardent We Believers.
The knowledge that it could all go wrong is carefully tucked away, the mental furniture pulled out so that you can stand on it and yell louder about how there’s no limit to what your team can accomplish if they play their best version of basketball.
All these years later, it’s so different, and yet all sort of the same. I’m still the same idiot freaking out while stress watching my team. I’m sure they can win this.
Warriors trail series 2-3
WHO: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers
WHEN: Friday, May 12th, 2023 // 7pm PDT
Games within games
The Golden State Warriors and coach Steve Kerr have seemingly found the secret sauce against these Los Angeles Lakers. Like most good recipes, it’s a relatively straightford formula. Pull Anthony Davis out of the paint and get him trying to defend a Stephen Curry pick-and-roll; then slice and dice your way to the rim, or exploit the entire dynamic to get some other good looks at a shot. Obviously there will be some sort of adjustment from the Lakers. Maybe it will be that their public campaign for a more favorable whistle will pay off.
Or perhaps they can do some version of what the Warriors do with Curry and have him give a quick wavy-armed facade of a defensive effort before immediately turning around and hustling back into the lane. But one way or another, the Warriors are definitely going to try that same thing again, checking the old spots to see how well Los Angeles managed to patch their leaks. And the Lakers know the same exact thing and will have certainly schemed up some sort of strategic countermeasures to deploy.
Then we’ve also got all the injuries that are piling up.
Anthony Davis reportedly managed to come out of the previous game without a concussion. Now, I’m not going to pretend like I know anything about it, but my understanding was that if you get bonked in the head and it makes you all woozy, like the cartoon character seeing stars, that means that you were concussed. Again, I don’t really know what I’m talking about, so let’s assume Davis was indeed fine somehow and the whole wheelchair thing was an abundance of caution.
So, it looks like Davis is fully cleared, which is good because I’m not done watching the Warriors drag him out to the perimeter and then light up the rest of the Lakers defense all game.Both Davis and LeBron James (who rolled his ankle on a landing) are listed as probable for today’s game.
On the Warriors side, the big news is that Wiggins sustained a cartilage fracture in his rib area. Best guess is that it occured on this play, a fairly innocuous-looking rebound attempt where he catches a meaty people’s elbow from LeBron. Wiggins didn’t do anything dramatic, and there have been no comments implying that the league should look into anything. The Lakers organization should take notes. Sometimes, injuries just happen when you play high intensity contact sports. You can wish for things to not have happened while also not blaming the universe for dealing you a bad hand. Crazy, right?
And the hope is that Wiggins won’t be all that much worse off on the court. As Anthony Slater of the Athletic points out, this is similar to an injury Looney grimaced his way through in the playoffs a few years ago.
This could be a big deal moving forward, and unfortunately adds to the burden Wiggins is operating under this season. He hasn’t been as dominant in these playoffs as we saw last year, but his role as a tertiary scorer and primary defender for James are incredibly important against a Lakers team that thrives on free throw advantages. Having Wiggins patrolling around the court on defense fills a whole lot of gaps in Golden State’s coverage. Kuminga is waiting in the wings, but it feels like Kerr has decided to go with an extra tight, veteran heavy rotation against the beefy Lakers interior.
Finally, let’s turn our eyes to the stakes tonight, and who will show up for each team.
This is going to be a true test of Golden' State’s mettle tonight. The Lakers have not lost a game at home yet during these playoffs; the Warriors struggled on the road all season - where they were just 11-30. Now, facing a must-win game (again) away from the comforts of home, we are going to see if that playoff switch was truly flipped. This is going to be a tough one. The Warriors fighting for their lives, the Lakers knowing that tonight will likely be their best shot at closing it out and moving on.
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are a combined 18/59 (30.5%) from three-point range over the last 3 games. The Warriors are heading into LA for a must-win game and it’s time for the Splash Bros to do their thing. The Warriors won the battles around the edges mostly (Green was tremendous in game 5), but this series really seems to be coming down to which team can allow their stars to shine the brightest. Game 6 Klay, we summon you!!
Warriors will win, but it’s going to be tight.
“Why is the preview up late,” you ask? Or maybe you didn’t notice. Whichever group you are in, I want to thank you for sticking with me and my partners here at DNHQ this season. I find myself getting a little wistful thinking about how close the Warriors are to elimination and what that could mean. They’ll win so we can save this conversation for another day. Anyways, thanks. Thanks for making this place so awesome. Thanks for making my basketball experience so much richer!
For music Friday, I bring to you White Fuzzy Bloodbath, the band that kept me out late last night, melting my face off with metal riffs and good times. It’s my birthday weekend, so let’s all party a little extra hard!