The Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors are set to battle for the first time with LeBron wearing the purple and gold on Christmas day’s prime time slot.
On Christmas day, the Los Angeles Lakers head up to Oakland California to play the Golden State Warriors in a much-anticipated matchup. This the first time LeBron James will face the Warriors in a Lakers jersey. The Lakers will probably be without former Warrior JaVale McGee, who is has been out with Pneumonia.
The Los Angeles Lakers come into the game with a 19-14 record, good for a fourth place in the Western Conference. They are 1-3 in the last four games after a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday Night.
The Warriors come in with a 23-11 record, tied for second in the West. They are 4-1 in the last five games. Their previous game was a thriller against the Los Angeles Clippers, where Stephen Curry hit a game winner to give the Warriors the 129-127 win.
Here are the Los Angeles Lakers’ five keys to defeating the defending champs.
Get Physical With Stephen Curry
One of the biggest keys for the Lakers will be to get physical with Stephen Curry. Curry struggles when players get physical. The Lakers need to put a body on him when he’s coming off screens and on forcing him to defend the pick n roll on defense.
The physical play will come down to how the officials call the game. The Lakers defenders need to find out early how tight the officials will call the game. You can’t let Curry have running free all night long.
Control The Tempo
The Lakers like to play up-tempo basketball, but I think in this game they need to pick and choose when they run. If the Lakers get into an up and down game with the Warriors they’re asking to get beat.
The Warriors don’t just run to get layups when they run they look to get open three’s and a close game can turn into a blow out quickly. The Lakers need to use LeBron in the post a lot more this game and run some pick and roll action in the half court sets. Mixing in some down screens will help too.
I like what the Houston Rockets did in the Western Conference Finals last year. They made Golden State play one on one, which stopped the flow of the offense. The Lakers should try to do some of the same.
The Warriors like to go small with Draymond Green at center; they call it their death line up. When the Warriors go to this lineup, the Lakers need to hit the offensive glass hard as the Warriors struggle to rebound with the death line up. The Lakers will need rebound well on both ends.
Weather The Three-Point Storm
At some point in the game, the Warriors will go on a three-point barrage. All you can do is hold on for dear life and stick with your game plan and keep fighting. If you keep coming, you can catch up and make a game out of it.
Make Draymond Green Beat You
If I’m the Los Angeles Lakers, I would double team off Draymond Green and force him to make open three-point shots. Green is not that good of a shooter and should be left open. If he hits shots just tip your cap and move on.
This game will be an exciting game to watch. I can not wait to watch it to see the game plans and the matchups for each team. It will be important for the Lakers to be able to switch everything on defense and challenge every shot. The offense needs to move the ball and hit open shots. This will be an excellent game to watch while eating Christmas dinner.