The Golden State Warriors‘ championship quest will resume on Tuesday night when the Lake Show rolls into Chase Center. And while the Kings managed to push the Bay Area crew to seven games in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, history — and the oddsmakers — appear to be on Golden State’s side versus LeBron James and Co.
Stephen Curry is fresh off one of the greatest scoring efforts in the postseason annals and the Warriors are famously undefeated in Western Conference playoff series since Steve Kerr has been at the helm. The Dubs are also a 4.5-point favorite to take Game 1, as relayed by USA Today.
All of that notwithstanding, the Warriors-Lakers series will likely come down to individual matchups. And, as Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus sees it, the matchup on the marquee may not be the one that ultimately decides which team advances to the conference finals.
“While the billing may be Stephen Curry vs. LeBron James, the Golden State Warriors/Los Angeles Lakers second-round series will hinge on the Anthony Davis vs. Kevon Looney matchup,” Pincus wrote ahead of Game 1.
B/R: Kevon Looney’s Ability to Slow Down Anthony Davis Could Be Determining Factor in Warriors-Lakers Series
Pincus’ big proclamation on the battle between Looney and Davis was part of B/R’s “bold predictions” for the second round of the playoffs. When one digs into the matchup, though, the take may be more practical than it is bold.
Looney’s impact will be measured without scoring as the Warriors’ best and only real shot at slowing down L.A.’s All-Star forward.
Davis’ offense was hot and cold in the first round against the Memphis Grizzlies. Sometimes he wilts, and sometimes he Wilts. Coach Darvin Ham expects the Chamberlain version, but the Lakers tend to be on the losing end when Davis is non-aggressive or settles for fadeaway jumpers. That’s what the Warriors need from Looney to out-physical Davis and push him to some of his worse tendencies.
Looney’s effort as a rebounder, defender and glue player is why the Sacramento Kings are on vacation and the Warriors advanced to the conference semifinals. He may not get the accolades, but his impact on the game is just as important (if not more) than some of the flashier Golden State scorers.
Looney played his role to perfection during the Warriors-Kings series, averaging 6.9 points, a playoff-best 15.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists across seven games.
Meanwhile, Golden State outscored Sacramento by 10.2 points per 100 possessions when Looney was on the floor and was 15.4 points/100 poss. better defensively (compared to when he was on the bench).
Warriors Fans Clown Dillon Brooks Amid Reports of His Forthcoming Ouster
The Athletic’s Shams Charania got the rumor mill churning on Tuesday by reporting that Grizzlies wing — and Dub Nation archenemy — Dillon Brooks wouldn’t be brought back to Memphis “under any circumstances.” Unsurprisingly, Warriors fans have been sounding off on the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent ever since that news broke.
“Once he let LeBron check him before the game, the tough guy persona was no more. His teammates can’t take him serious anymore,” tweeted another fan.
“I cannot recall an organization being this cold to essentially make a news release like ‘we don’t want you back for any reason whatsoever. GTFO!’ Cold af,” opined a third tweeter.
Then there was this: