While the Golden State Warriors still have some unfinished business following a difficult home loss, the Los Angeles Lakers are simply trying to avoid the single-season franchise record for losses.
With David Lee likely sidelined, the Warriors hope to clinch a playoff berth while ending an 11-game road skid to the defensively challenged Lakers on Friday night.
Golden State (48-30) remains on the verge of its first back-to-back postseason appearances since 1990-91 and ’91-92 despite a 100-99 setback to visiting Denver on Thursday.
After Stephen Curry’s floater put the Warriors up with 4.7 seconds left, Kenneth Faried made a hook shot with a half-second remaining as the Nuggets rallied from a 20-point deficit to keep Golden State from wrapping up a playoff berth. The sixth-place Warriors, who own a one-game lead over Phoenix and Dallas, can clinch the spot with a victory.
‘We’ve got to be better,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. ”There’s no ands, ifs or buts about it. We’ve got to be better, and we’ve got to do a better job of taking care of business and closing out possessions and putting teams away. We can’t hide from that.”
Golden State played its seventh straight game without Lee, who averages 18.5 points and 9.4 rebounds. The co-captain is trying to rehabilitate nerve damage that extends from his back to the upper part of his right hamstring.
He isn’t expected to play against the Lakers, but hopes to return for the playoffs – if not sooner. Draymond Green, who has averaged 8.4 points while filling in the last five games, will continue to start in Lee’s place.
Curry finished with 24 points, six rebounds and four steals and Klay Thompson scored 21 Thursday. Curry had 18 points and 10 assists, while Andrew Bogut added 12 points and 20 boards in a 102-83 win over the visiting Lakers (25-53) on Dec. 21.
Thompson has averaged 24.7 points while hitting 13 of 25 from beyond the arc in the three meetings. He scored a career-high 38 on 15-of-19 shooting from the field in a season-opening 125-94 home rout over Los Angeles on Oct. 30.
He’ll try to continue that production against a Los Angeles team that has allowed 120.6 points per game on 51.4 percent shooting – including 40.0 percent from 3-point range – during a five-game losing streak.
Although Steve Nash moved into third place (10,335) on the NBA’s career assists list Tuesday in a 145-130 home loss to Houston, the Lakers tied the franchise’s single-season record for losses with their worst defensive performance of 2013-14. With one more defeat, they’ll exceed the mark established by the 1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers, who went 19-53.
"We talk about schemes and different ways to play things, but it just seems like guys on other teams score too easily,” said Jordan Farmar, who had 15 points and eight assists after missing 10 games due to a strained groin. ”It just comes down to heart.”
Nick Young is averaging 23.4 points and shooting 26 of 52 from 3-point range in his last seven home games, while Jodie Meeks has scored 23.3 per game on 52.9 percent shooting in his last four overall.
In the only other meeting with Golden State at Staples Center, Pau Gasol finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds and Young scored 21 in a 102-95 win Nov. 22. However, Gasol (vertigo), Chris Kaman (strained calf), Xavier Henry (knee, wrist) and Kent Bazemore (foot) aren’t likely to play in this matchup.
Los Angeles has won by an average of 12.8 points during its current run over Golden State at home and has taken 36 of 39 between the teams there since the 1994-95 season.