Warriors-Lakers Preview

After squeaking past one lesser opponent, the Los Angeles Lakers

want to avoid overlooking another one.

The Lakers have won 14 of their last 15 meetings with the Golden

State Warriors heading into Sunday night’s matchup at Staples

Center.

Los Angeles (32-20) won 88-85 at home Saturday over Western

Conference-worst New Orleans, blowing an early 14-point lead and

eventually needing to rally from 10 down in the fourth quarter. The

Lakers have split their last eight games.

“New Orleans came out as the undermanned team and we took them

lightly,” guard Ramon Sessions said. “But, it’s like I tell (the

Lakers) when I came in with Cleveland, this was our championship

coming here playing in the Staples Center so teams are coming in

playing hard and we just have to be consistent and play hard

too.”

Kobe Bryant missed his first 15 shots, but made a 3-pointer that

put Los Angeles ahead for good with 20 seconds left. Bryant missed

18 of 21 shots on the day and scored 11 points – his fewest in his

last 23 games.

“I’m stubborn. You have to have that kind of attitude, that kind

of determination or stubbornness,” Bryant said. “That’s what gets

teams over the hump to win multiple championships.”

Known for his clutch play, Bryant demonstrated that ability by

scoring six points during a game-ending 9-4 run in Tuesday’s

104-101 victory at Golden State (20-30). He’s averaging 34.5 points

in two wins over the Warriors (20-30) this season.

Tuesday’s defeat opened a winless three-game homestand for

Golden State, which lost its fourth straight overall Friday with a

102-100 defeat to New Jersey.

The Warriors blew a 19-point lead in the third quarter against

the Nets, causing coach Mark Jackson to chastise his team for

“messing around.”

“We didn’t close them out when we had them and it came back to

bite us,” Jackson said. “We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. They

outworked us in our own building.”

Bouncing back won’t be easy since the Warriors have dropped

seven straight on the road against the Lakers and 32 of their last

35 away from home in the series. The Lakers are 21-5 at home,

although their last seven games there have been decided by single

digits.

“We’ve got a good record, we’ve won games, but we haven’t been

beating teams by 15 or 20 whether we’re at home or on the road,”

coach Mike Brown said. “So, it’s been a dog fight for us all the

time.”

Jackson started three rookies Friday for Golden State, with

first-round pick Klay Thompson getting his 12th start in a row.

Thompson, whose father Mychal is the radio color commentator for

Los Angeles, has averaged 17.0 points in the two losses to the

Lakers this season.

Los Angeles has outrebounded Golden State by an average of 15.0

boards in those contests, with Pau Gasol averaging 18.0 points and

14.0 rebounds.

If there’s an edge for the Warriors, it’s the fact that they

rank among the NBA’s leaders in 3-point shooting at 38.4 percent.

The Lakers are one of the league’s worst from beyond the arc,

shooting 31.3 percent.

The Warriors remain without centers Andris Biedrins (groin) and

Andrew Bogut (ankle), and guard Stephen Curry (ankle).