Game: Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors
Time: 10:00 p.m.
Odds: Lakers +4.5, Warriors -4.5
The conference semifinals series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors begins tonight in San Francisco. The two highly successful teams have combined for seven of the last eight Western Conference titles and five of the last eight NBA championships. This will be their first postseason meeting since 1991.
In the best-of-seven set, the sixth-seeded Warriors will have the home-court advantage. The two heavyweights will compete for the chance to face either the top-seeded Denver Nuggets or the fourth-seeded Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference finals. The Lakers come in as the better rested team having beaten Memphis in six games in Round 1.
The Lakers defeated the Warriors 3-1 in the season series despite having a challenging regular season. One of those victories came on February 23 in San Francisco, a game Golden State star Stephen Curry was unable to play in because of a leg injury.
D’Angelo Russell scored 31 points in the opening round series finale against the Grizzlies on Friday. LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 38 points and 19 rebounds as the Lakers romped to a 125-85 victory. Los Angeles has had three days off since its clinching victory.
The Warriors have only had one day off after securing their spot with a 120-100 road victory over the third-seeded Sacramento Kings on Sunday in Game 7. Curry scored 50 points during that game, breaking the NBA record for points scored in a playoff Game 7.
Although the Lakers and Warriors may not have met in the postseason, James and Curry have. The Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers faced off against each other four times in a row in the NBA Finals from 2015 to 2018, a total of 22 games. On three of those four occasions, Curry won the NBA championship, despite losing the personal scoring competition to James. James averaged 33 points per game against Curry’s 25.4 in those contests.
The Warriors have also had playoff success against Davis. In the playoffs in 2015 and 2018, when Davis played for the New Orleans Pelicans, Golden State beat Davis eight of nine times. Davis and Golden State’s Draymond Green both averaged double-doubles.
In this series, Davis is more likely to face off against the Warriors’ young interior force Kevon Looney, who led all league rebounders in the first round with 15.1 boards per game. By finishing one game better than the Lakers during the regular season, the Warriors secured home-court advantage in the series. Los Angeles would have hosted Game 1 if the teams had ended up tied thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Both teams enter the series on a roll. Golden State has won four of its last five, 15 of its last 20 against the Lakers at home, and 14 of its last 16 at home. Los Angeles has won 11 of its last 14 games. The Lakers have also won 10 of the last 15 games against the Warriors and they are 5-2 ATS in the last seven against Golden State.
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