The Golden State Warriors are making no secret about their defensive assignments, with Steve Kerr announcing that Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis will have former Defensive Player of the year Draymond Green defending him on Wednesday.
Davis spent nearly three months on the shelf following a re-aggravation of the Achilles issue and calf strain but has returned to form since returning to the lineup and getting his legs under him.
Green will be at a size disadvantage against Davis, who is 6-foot-11 compared to Green at 6-6. However, Green’s physical style could disrupt Davis’ rhythm on the court.
In the only game Davis played against Golden State this season he scored a modest 17 points, but grabbed 17 rebounds and doled out seven assists, which tied his season-high.
Kerr weighed out the pros and cons of the defensive assignment during his press conference on Tuesday.
“The pro is that we’ve got I think the best defender on earth guarding one of the best players on earth,” Kerr said. “That outweighs the cons. The cons are that Draymond can’t play as much centerfield.”
Lakers Focused on Slowing Down Steph Curry
The Lakers boast the NBA’s top defense, which will be put to the test against Steph Curry, the league’s leading scorer. Curry averaged 32 points per game this season and has unlimited range on the court.
“We anticipate they’re going to throw the kitchen sink at Steph. Multiple defenders, different matchups, some blitzes, some kind of shadowing, that type of stuff,” Kerr said. “We’ve kind of seen everything, Steph has seen everything. Draymond [Green] is probably the key in terms of when they do throw stuff at Steph, Draymond has an answer with all of his screening and dribble hand-offs and that sort of thing so they’re fun to watch together.”
Davis called Curry “the head of the snake” for Golden State, knowing that the Lakers need to slow him down to have a shot at snagging the No. 7 seed.
“We got to do our best to contain him. It’s gonna be a team effort, not just all the pressure on the guards,” Davis said, per ESPN. “We got to make sure we keep an eye on him and stay locked in on him at all times.”
Lakers guard Dennis Schroder will see a lot of Curry on Wednesday night and tossed lots of praise his way.
“He’s the best shooter who has ever played this game,” Schroder told reporters on Wednesday. “So, any shot, whatever comes from half court on, it’s a good shot for him. At the end of the day, you got to make it as hard as possible and be into him and limit his 3s.”
LeBron James ‘Good to Go’ For Play-in Matchup
There’s been some slight concern over the health of LeBron James, who is returning from a high-ankle sprain that saw him miss 26 of the Lakers’ final 30 regular-season games.
He “tweaked” the ankle in the Lakers’ regular-season finale and is experience some “minor soreness,” per Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. However, the four-time MVP will be ready to roll against the Warriors.
“He’s good to go,” Vogel said of James. “Was a full participant in practice today and is good to go.”
James is averaging 25 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists this season.