(Photo By: Adam Pantozzi/Getty Images)
3 Things to Know: Lakers vs. Warriors (12/18/17)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers take on the Golden State Warriors.
1) Everyone is here for the Mamba
A career defined by accolade after accolade will be celebrated by doubling up on one of the greatest honors an athlete can received.
At halftime of this game, Kobe Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys will be unveiled in the STAPLES Center rafters, retired for the rest of franchise history.
Kobe himself will, of course, be in attendance, as his former team faces a poetic opponent.
Not only did Kobe score more points against the Golden State Warriors than any other team in his career, he also provided one of his signature moments against the core members of the NBA’s current juggernaut.
Back on April 12, 2013, Kobe was locked in a shootout with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. With 32 points to his total, Bryant tried to drive to the hoop, but incidentally tore his Achilles tendon.
In true Black Mamba fashion, he did not immediately exit the game; instead hitting two free throws right after the most devastating injury of his career.
THIS DAY IN KOBE HISTORY: April 12 2013: It was the night that Kobe Bryant literally gave the Lakers all he had to give. The superstar scored 34 points to lead Los Angeles’ victory over Golden State, but it cost him the remainder of the season, as he tore his Achilles tendon with three minutes left. In true Black Mamba fashion, he wouldn’t leave the game until after he hit two free throws that resulted from the play that caused his injury. More #TDIKH on Lakers.com
2) Tiny Dog is looking for another big game on a big stage
The top performances of Brandon Ingram’s young career were his most recent outing and the last time he faced the Warriors.
Back on Nov. 29, he lit up Golden State for 32 points in an overtime loss. Ingram took advantage of the Warriors’ switching defense by tallying the majority of his total on plodding big men before scoring on the likes of world-class defenders Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson in crunch time.
Since then, he has continued to pile up buckets at the rim, but has also become more of a playmaker for others. He had 26 points (10-of-15) and six assists in Thursday’s loss to Cleveland, and those passing numbers are trending upward.
He has at least five assists in seven of his last 11 games, and his 3-point stroke is looking solid too, having hit five of his last 10 from deep.
Brandon Ingram scored a team-high 26 points to go along with 6 helpers and 6 boards tonight. pic.twitter.com/VaUxemr0uq— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 15, 2017
3) The Warriors are KD’s squad right now
The Lakers are aiming to take advantage of a Golden State team missing perennial all-stars Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.
However, Golden State is still stocked with talent, including Kevin Durant, who has provided MVP-caliber play in Curry’s four-game absence.
During this stretch, he has averaged a league-high 33.8 points per game, while also pitching in 10.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 3.0 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, Klay Thompson continues to prove himself one of the greatest shooters in league history by ranking third in the NBA in made triples (3.5) and fourth in 3-point percentage (47.2).
And though it’s a small sample size, the Warriors have gone 4-0 with Curry injured. They have slowed down the pace to about league average during this stretch, and have dialed back their 3-point attempts significantly.
The results have been unassailable, as they rank first in defensive field goal percentage (40.7) and first on the offensive side (52.6) in this span.
Warriors: Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle), Draymond Green (right shoulder soreness) and Shaun Livingston are out. Zaza Pachulia (left shoulder soreness) is doubtful. Nick Young (concussion) is probable.
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes in L.A. NBA TV nationally
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California