Viewers' Guide: Closer look at Warriors-Lakers showdown
Kevin Cottrell Jr., Special to NBA.com
Warriors vs. Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV)
This offseason, the Golden State Warriors formed the newest NBA super team. Many wondered how long it would take this group of shooters to gel, but 15 games in, those questions are getting answered. The Warriors travel to Los Angeles tonight to complete a home-in-home tilt with the new-look Lakers.
Gold & Blue Streak
Golden State looks to continue its recent success and extend its win streak to 10 games. This is the fourth consecutive season the Warriors have had a win streak of nine games or more. Wednesday’s win over the Lakers marked the ninth consecutive contest in which the Warriors hit the 30-assist threshold, setting a franchise record streak for 30-assist games. The Warriors’ nine straight games with at least 30 assists is the most in the NBA since the Charlotte Hornets handed out 30-plus assists in an NBA record 13-consecutive games (March 30, 1989 to April 23, 1989).
Get To The Point
The Warriors’ team chemistry is still a work in progress, but Golden State’s offense is ahead of schedule. The Warriors’ rank first in scoring (119.2 points per game), assists (31.9) and field goal percentage (50.2 percent). Golden State scored 149 points in Wednesday’s win against the Lakers, the most by any team in regulation since the Phoenix Suns had 152 points in a March 16, 2010 win vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers may not be as efficient, but their offense is just as explosive as they rank fourth in scoring overall (109.6 ppg).
Splash Brothers … +1
Although ball movement has proven to be the star of the Warriors, the team’s Big 3 still manages to shine. Stephen Curry (26.4 ppg), Kevin Durant (27.0 ppg) and Klay Thompson (20.7 ppg) are all averaging more than 20 points a game. The last time the Warriors had 3 players finish a season with 20.0 ppg averages was in 2007-08 (Baron Davis, Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson). Their scoring pretty much guarantees a win, too: Golden State is 6-0 when each Big 3 member scores 20-plus points.
Season of Giving
Warriors set a franchise record with 47 assists Wednesday vs Lakers. They assisted on 47 of their 53 field goals (88.7 percent), the highest assist percentage in a game in the shot clock era (minimum 50 field goals made). The 47 assists are the most in a game since the Phoenix Suns had 47 against the Charlotte Hornets on Nov. 29, 1991. Of the five games this season where a team has 35 or more assists, the Warriors are responsible for three of them.
Home Sweet Home
The Lakers are much improved because they’re better at home, sporting a 5-3 mark at Staples Center and averaging 113.3 ppg there, too. The team’s balanced attack features five players averaging 10 or more points. The Lakers have won their last two home matchups with the Warriors, holding them to 96.0 ppg.
At 52.1 ppg, the Lakers’ bench is the best in the NBA (nearly 8 points better than the second-best team). A big reason for the Lakers’ early success has been their second unit. The bench has eclipsed the 50-point plateau in 10 games this season, a feat they accomplished five times all last season. Keying in on a star player is no easy task when facing the Lakers as the leading scorer has come off the bench in 12 of the teams’ 16 games.
The Lakers sit at 8-8, which is the first time the squad has been .500 or better through 16 games since November of 2012. The 2012-13 season also happens to be the last time the Lakers reached the postseason.