Ball, Lakers get another shot to beat Warriors
OAKLAND, Calif. — Two days after taking down this season’s top team in the West, the Los Angeles Lakers will take aim at even bigger game Friday night when they face the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
It’ll be the third matchup of the season between the California rivals, with the Warriors having prevailed in overtime in both previous duels, each of which was hosted by the Lakers.
The game will feature the Bay Area debut of high-profile Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, whose driving layup was blocked by Golden State’s David West in the final seconds of the Warriors’ 116-114 win at Los Angeles on Monday.
Ball finished the game with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists.
The 20-year-old had a 15-point, 10-assist double-double when he went head-to-head with Warriors star Stephen Curry in the teams’ first matchup of the season, a 127-123 Golden State win in November.
Ball won’t have to deal with the former two-time Most Valuable Player on Friday, as Curry will miss his seventh consecutive game with a sprained right ankle. Curry also sat out Monday’s win at Los Angeles.
The Lakers suffered more than just a loss on the scoreboard that night. Center Brook Lopez sprained his right ankle and likely won’t play again until January.
Los Angeles didn’t need its big man in Wednesday’s 122-116 win at Houston, as rookie forward Kyle Kuzma dominated the action with 38 points, 21 coming on 3-pointers.
Ball contributed 16 points and nine rebounds to the win.
“Brook means a lot,” Ball said of the veteran big man who is the club’s fifth-leading scorer at 12.8 points per game. “He is big in the paint and he can space the offense, so we are definitely going to miss him.”
The Lakers started former Warrior Andrew Bogut at center against Houston. He had two points and three rebounds in 17 minutes.
The Warriors were missing three starters and two key reserves in Wednesday’s 97-84 home win over the Memphis Grizzlies. But at least one of the five is expected back Friday.
Draymond Green, who has sat out the last four games with a sore right shoulder, was able to scrimmage with teammates on Thursday.
Barring a setback at Friday’s afternoon shootaround or pregame warmups, Green will face a team against which he compiled 15 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in the Nov. 29 meeting.
Andre Iguodala, who missed Wednesday’s game with an illness, is another Golden State player who could return Friday.
The Warriors have won 10 games in a row, becoming the fourth team this season to string together a streak of at least 10 games.
Golden State has had 10-game win streaks in each of the last five seasons. Only San Antonio, Boston and Seattle had accomplished that feat previously in NBA history.
The Warriors used their 12th different starting lineup against the Grizzlies.
“We have a lot of depth and plenty of guys who can play, and so we have enough talent to continue to win, which is great,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr observed. “It may not be pretty right now, but we are doing a good job defensively and then finding ways to score.”