2023 NBA Playoffs Second Round Preview: Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Lakers

Sports Illustrated

2023 NBA Playoffs Second Round Preview: Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Lakers


2023 NBA Playoffs Second Round Preview: Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Lakers


The No. 6 seeded Golden State Warriors went on the road in Game 7 and beat the Sacramento Kings Sunday, punching their ticket to the second round. The No. 7 seeded Los Angeles Lakers defeated an undermanned Memphis Grizzlies in six games, closing it out at Crypto.com Arena on Friday.

A matchup between Stephen Curry and LeBron James will be an exciting one. How dominant will Anthony Davis be against the strength and physicality of Kevon Looney? Will Jordan Poole be more of a factor than he was against the Kings? Find all the information you need to know heading into this matchup below, including a prediction

Sports Illustrated

Regular Season Matchups

Lakers at Warriors: 10/18/2022

Result: Warriors 123-109 Lakers

Warriors G Stephen Curry: 33 points, 10-for-22 shooting, six rebounds, seven assists, four steals

Lakers F LeBron James: 31 points, 12-for-26 shooting, 15 rebounds, eight assists 

Lakers at Warriors: 2/11/2023

Result: Lakers 109-103 Warriors

Lakers G Dennis Schröder: 26 points, 7-for-12 shooting, 9-for-11 shooting from the line

Warriors G Jordan Poole: 29 points, 11-for-25 shooting, five rebounds, six assists 

Warriors at Lakers: 2/23/2023

Result: Lakers 124-111 Warriors 

Lakers G Malik Beasley: 25 points, 9-for-16 shooting, 7-for-11 shooting from three, three steals 

Warriors G Klay Thompson: 22 points, 8-for-19 shooting, 4-for-11 shooting from three

Warriors at Lakers: 3/5/2023

Result: Lakers 113-105 Warriors

Lakers F Anthony Davis: 39 points, 14-for-25 shooting, eight rebounds, six assists, two blocks

Warriors G Stephen Curry: 27 points, 8-for-20 shooting, 5-for-13 shooting from three, six assists 

How Los Angeles Can Win:

The Lakers can win this series if Anthony Davis is able to impose his will on both ends of the floor. In their first-round series victory over the Grizzlies, Los Angeles was at their best when the star big was altering shots and securing offensive rebounds. Davis is a top five talent in the league when he is going right, it is just a matter of him staying on the floor. The Lakers have what it takes to take down the reigning champions, but only if the 30-year-old is a dominant force. 

LeBron James is going to get his, but who is going to step up alongside their two superstars? D’Angelo Russell averaged 16.7 points in the first round, going for 31 points on 12-for-17 shooting in Game 6 against the Grizzlies. The space to operate freely will be there for the guard, but will he continue his hot shooting? How about Austin Reaves, who has blossomed in his second season with the Lakers, both as a playmaker and a scorer. 

Defending Stephen Curry without fouling will be extremely important in order for Los Angeles to have success. Reaves may get the assignment, although Lakers head coach Darvin Ham may go with more length in Jarred Vanderbilt. Curry will likely average 25-30 points in this series, but Los Angeles can ill afford to consistently like him go for 35 points on high efficiency. Otherwise, the Lakers will be going home following the end of the second round.

How Golden State Can Win:

The Warriors will win this series if they are able to protect their home court. Golden State’s struggles on the road in the regular season have been well-documented, but they put that to rest in the first round, winning two games at the Golden 1 Center, including Game 7 against the Kings. Regardless, the Warriors need to defend the Chase Center, especially considering that they have home court advantage. 

Stephen Curry will be the focal point of the offense, but what the complimentary pieces do for Golden State will determine the outcome of this second round series. Jordan Poole is the name to keep an eye on, as he averaged 12 points in 22.8 minutes per game against the Kings. The guard was an integral part of the Warriors’ run to the NBA Finals last season, but his minutes have drastically decreased since the return of Andrew Wiggins. It will be interesting to see if Poole has an expanded role against the length of the Lakers. 

He may have gone unnoticed in years prior, but Kevon Looney is the real deal and it showed against Sacramento. The 26-year-old averaged 15.1 rebounds per game in the first round, grabbing a total of 37 offensive boards in seven games. Looney did an excellent job defending Domantas Sabonis, but containing Anthony Davis will be a far bigger test. If he can limit the Lakers big, the Warriors will be in great shape to win the series.  

Series Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers over the Golden State Warriors in seven games

It is difficult to pick against LeBron James in the playoffs, so I am going with the Lakers in seven games. The Warriors are more than capable of winning this series, especially if Stephen Curry plays like he did against the Kings. My concern is that they won’t have an answer for Anthony Davis, who is much more comfortable stepping out to 18-20 feet and knocking down a jumper. Kevon Looney gave Domantas Sabonis fits, but he won’t have the same kind of success against the Lakers star. James, Davis and the rest of their supporting cast will do just enough to advance to the Western Conference Finals. 


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