The Golden State Warriors like to use a smaller lineup to their advantage, but it hasn't worked over the last two seasons against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Warriors look to end their nine-game losing streak to the Lakers when the Pacific Division rivals meet Friday for the second time in six days.
Golden State (12-10) has not beaten Los Angeles since a 126-99 win on April 18, 2005, in the final week of that season. The Warriors have also lost 14 of the last 15 meetings between the teams.
That futility continued in a 123-113 loss at Los Angeles on Sunday. The Lakers (13-8) placed seven players in double figures and after the game, everybody had a theory as to why Los Angeles is currently dominating the series.
"It's a game of matchups," said Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who had a game-high 28 points and a season-high eight assists. "They pride themselves on playing small ball. We match up pretty well with them."
Bryant is averaging 35 points during the winning streak over Golden State, but the Warriors thought they lost Sunday for more reasons than just his performance.
"I think the reason why we lose to them is that we let the other guys - their bench - get those 8, 10s and 12s," Warriors guard Baron Davis said. "Somebody for them is always having a career game against us."
On Sunday, the Lakers got that kind of effort from Andrew Bynum. The 20-year-old center matched a career high with 20 points and also had 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.
One factor favoring Golden State on Friday is the venue. The Warriors have won three straight and six of seven in Oakland as they enter their final contest before a five-game road trip.
The Warriors, though, are looking to bounce back from a 105-95 loss at Portland on Wednesday. They played without third-leading scorer Monta Ellis, who missed his first game with a thigh injury and will be a game-time decision Friday.
"Definitely not having Monta out there is a big problem," Golden State's Stephen Jackson said. "We play a lot faster. It slowed us down a lot and we didn't have an extra ball handler out there."
Without Ellis, the Warriors were held to their second-lowest point total of the season. Golden State is second in the NBA with 109.0 points per game, while Los Angeles is fourth at 106.9.
The Lakers are seeking their first five-game winning streak since March 16-25, after taking advantage of a short-handed San Antonio club for a 102-97 victory on Thursday. The defending NBA champion Spurs played without Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
Bryant scored 30 points, reaching that plateau for the first time in seven games. Bynum, who finished with six points and 11 boards, was ejected in the third quarter after picking up two technicals.
"Not much to say. He lost his cool for a second, he got tossed," Bryant said. "Andrew should be proud - first ejection, national TV, he went out in a blaze of glory."
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