The Los Angeles Lakers, with their size up front and insane skill to go with it, might be literally the worst matchup across the entire NBA for this iteration of the Golden State Warriors. It was painfully evident right from the get-go Wednesday night as L.A. took care of business, 126-93.
To be clear, Golden State was without Steph Curry (rest), as well as both their likely rotation bigs — Willie Cauley-Stein and Kevon Looney. The Lakers looked dominant enough to make you wonder if they really would’ve mattered, though. That’s crazy to say about someone as impactful as Curry, but they looked that good.
As it will all season, it all started with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Minutes in which they shared the court hardly felt fair, and they were impossible to miss when they were out there on their own. Davis (8 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists) finished the game a +19 and James (18 points and 11 rebounds) finished +30. Neither played in the fourth.
Joining them up front was JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, who both feasted on the Golden State’s undersized, well, roster. One thing that has been nice to watch is Howard’s fluidity on the court as he recovers from his various maladies.
Avery Bradley made his second start of the preseason with Rajon Rondo resting and made probably his best case thus far to deserve that position when the season starts next Tuesday. He obviously won’t shoot as well as he did (4-5 from three, for example), but the way he played fit perfectly with what that starting lineup needed.
Speaking of Rondo, it’s just hard to envision a role for him when the guards play as well as they did Wednesday night.
Quinn Cook made his first appearance of the preseason and lit Staples Center on fire. Alex Caruso still isn’t quite being used properly (he isn’t really a threat to score out of the pick-and-roll), but he still managed to carry a +14 before the game reached garbage time. Hell, even Kentavious Caldwell-Pope shot 2-4 from deep.
It’s probably too much to hope that Rondo doesn’t play at all given the locker room politics at work, but games like this really hammer home how obviously he doesn’t fit in the rotation.
The Lakers have a day off Thursday but are right back in action against Golden State Friday back at the brand-new Chase Center. Tip-off for that game will once again be 7:30 p.m. PDT.