GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (8-4)
at LOS ANGELES LAKERS (5-7)
Tip-off: Friday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Golden State -5, Total: 204.5
The Lakers try to win two straight games for the first time this season when they host the surging Warriors on Friday night.
Golden State has won four of its past five games (2-3 ATS), but most recently lost to the Grizzlies, 88-81 in overtime on Wednesday. This was the second lowest scoring performance by the Warriors this season even with the extra time. PG Stephen Curry missed the game with a concussion and he is not likely to return to action on Friday. The Warriors as are 0-2 SU when Curry has not played this season. The Lakers have had a rough stretch recently, going 2-4 SU (2-3-1 ATS) over their past six games, but are coming off a 114-99 shellacking of the Pistons on Sunday night. L.A. has been much better at home this year with a 4-3 SU (5-1 ATS) record, while Golden State has split its six road games SU (4-2 ATS). The Warriors hosted the Lakers in the their opening game of this season and took them to the woodshed, winning 125-94 and covering a large 12.5-point spread. In that game, Golden State shot 54% from the field while holding the Lakers to 39% FG. This included going 15-for-27 (56%) from behind the arc for the Warriors. The story has not been like this over the past three seasons though, as Los Angeles has dominated with a 7-2 SU mark against Golden State, but was only 3-6 ATS in those games. Amazingly, the Lakers are 31-3 SU (91.2%) when hosting the Warriors since 1996, but have done poorly ATS (15-17). In addition to Curry (concussion), Golden State C Jermaine O’Neal (knee) is expected to miss the game. SG Kobe Bryant (Achilles) has been more active lately, but recently missed a practice due to soreness and is still a few games away from returning. PG Steve Nash (back) is out 2-to-3 weeks as well for the Lakers.
Can the Lakers get payback Friday for the season-opening blowout? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Forecaster has been spot-on so far this season with a 58% ATS record (32-23-1) in featured games, while the five experts are a scorching 71% ATS (27-11-1) on Best Bets since Nov. 12. During this timeframe, StatFox Gary is 7-1 ATS, StatFox Brian is 7-2 ATS, StatFox Dave is 4-2 ATS and StatFox Zach is 5-3 ATS. Brian is 58% ATS (11-8) on NBA Best Bets for the season, while Dave is 56% ATS (9-7) for the year.
The Warriors' offense has put up impressive numbers thus far with 102.3 PPG (10th in NBA) on 48.1% FG (3rd in league) and 45% threes (2nd in NBA), while leading all NBA teams in three-pointers made per game (10.6). Golden State is also a top-5 defense (95.6 PPG) and has held opponents less than 90 points on five separate occasions this season. PG Stephen Curry (19.9 PPG, 8.7 APG, 3.7 RPG) has clearly been the glue that holds this team together, and Golden State has lost both games he has missed, averaging only 77.5 PPG in his absence. Curry actually struggled against the Lakers earlier in the year (10 points, 6 assists in 24 minutes) but has still averaged 19.7 PPG, 6.8 APG and 5.3 RPG in 12 career starts versus Los Angeles. If Curry does end up missing this game, SG Klay Thompson (20.6 PPG, 53% FG, 49% threes, 2.9 RPG) will need to do more than just score. He has scored more than 20 points in six games this season, including a 38-point performance against the Lakers where he made 15-of-19 shots (5-of-7 threes). But he has dished out three or fewer assists in each game this season, and has zero assists and four turnovers in the past two contests. Thompson leads the league this season in made three-pointers (40) and has drained 24 threes (37% 3-pt FG) while scorching L.A. for 20.8 PPG over nine career games (8 starts). PF David Lee (17.4 PPG, 8.8 RPG) has not been the double-double machine of past seasons with only four such games this year, but he did average a double-double (18.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG) in his four games versus the Lakers last season and pumped in 24 points (8-of-13 FG) with eight boards and five assists in the season opener versus Los Angeles. SF Andre Iguodala (13.5 PPG, 6.3 APG, 4.3 RPG, 2.1 SPG) has done a little bit of everything in his first season with Golden State, and had a season-high 14 assists Wednesday against the Grizzlies with Curry was out.
The Lakers are right in the middle of the NBA as far as offense is concerned, scoring 99.4 PPG (15th in league), but has shot a subpar 42.8% FG (22nd in NBA). They have struggled to be consistent without injured guards Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash this season, but have scored 110+ points in two of their past four games. L.A. has given up a lot of points this year though (103.8 PPG, 6th-most in NBA) but has held opponents to a respectable 45.2% from the field (15th in league). The Lakers have also done a poor job of protecting the basketball, turning it over an average of 2.3 times more per game than their opponents. Many expected PF Paul Gasol (13.0 PPG, 10.7 RPG) to excel as the star on the court, but he has been wildly inconsistent and is shooting a career-low 39.5% from the field. Playing the Warriors could help him get back on track though, as he has scored 20.4 PPG and grabbed 10.1 RPG in 43 career games when facing them. PF Jordan Hill (10.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG) has actually been the much better power forward of late, netting 18.8 PPG, pulling down 12.0 RPG and swatting seven shots over the past four games. He is coming off the best game of his career on Sunday night with 24 points (11-of-16 FG) and 17 rebounds in the win over Detroit. SG Jodie Meeks (13.7 PPG, 53% FG, 49% threes) has been L.A.'s top scorer so far this season, but does not do too much else on the court with zero assists and eight rebounds combined over his past four games. With Steve Nash out, PG Steve Blake (9.8 PPG, 7.3 APG, 1.1 SPG) has done a great job running the point with 10+ assists in each of his past four games. He most recently dished out 16 assists on Sunday night, marking his third-highest assist total of his 11-year career.