Los Angeles Lakers vs Golden State Warriors: Predictions and Odds

How to Watch

Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA

When: 8:00 PM EST, 25 December 2018

How (TV/Radio): ESPN-ABC Simulcast | 710 AM ESPN/ 1330 AM ESPN Deportes and 95.7 FM The Game

Los Angeles Lakers

Head Coach: Luke Walton {All-Time 79-116 | LAL }

The Los Angeles Lakers sit fourth in the Western Conference. Tied with the Portland Trail Blazers and arena-rivals Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers will want to separate themselves from the pack with a win against the Warriors.

This will be the first of four meetings with the Golden State Warriors this season. LeBron James is now in the West and the NBA will be keying in on what is a matchup between him and the fiercest rivals of his career.

The Lakers are ravaged with injury and illness, but overall have depth that you could say is greater than the Warriors. Unfortunately, the Warriors sport five all-NBA talents in their lineup. The Lakers will need the utmost from their role players if they want a a win in their Christmas stocking.

Golden State Warriors

Head Coach: Steve Kerr {All-Time 286-74 | GSW }

The Golden State Warriors are sitting firmly in third in the Western Conference. For the entirety of December, a single game has separated the Warriors, Nuggets, and Thunder from first place. A win over the Lakers will shuffle the top of the table again.

The Warriors have suffered a bit of inconsistency as of late, by their standards. After going 6-4 in their last ten, the Warriors will want positive results in a Saturday-Sunday back-to-back to prime them for Christmas duty against the Lakers.

The Lakers are having difficulty with their squad health. The Warriors seem to be getting back on track save for the long-term injuries, so it would seem the Warriors are primed to win this game. Look for the Warriors to stagger their starting lineup with their bench in order to keep the pressure on against the Laker reserves.

What’s At Stake?

Two storied California teams, the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers have met many times over the history of the NBA. In 416 regular season matches, the Los Angeles Lakers lead the all-time series 251-165 over the Golden State Warriors.

Should the Lakers win this match, they would separate themselves from the Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angele Clippers, who are tied with them for fourth in the Western Conference.

If the Golden State Warriors win this matchup, they would leapfrog the Oklahoma City Thunder for second place in the West. Barring the possibility of Oklahoma City winning their match of course.

Questions to answer

What has the Winter bug done to the Lakers?

Will the Warriors keep up their efficiency?

We are going to compare the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Four Lakers are on the IR with an illness

Several Lakers required medical attention for an illness that has spread throughout the squad. Initially Javale McGee was the only victim, now Ivica Zubac, Tyson Chandler, and LeBron James have caught the bug.

Many of the affected players are on precautionary IV treatment. LeBron James skipped morning shoot around on Thursday while JaVale McGee has been diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and flu-like symptoms.

To say that’s a large part of the team out is an understatement. It is likely they will play, but their health will be unpredictable going into the holiday season. Should that squad be out for the Christmas Day special, the Lakers will have to rely on their youngsters Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram to compete against the champion Warriors.

The Warriors are 1st in FG% and 1st in Assists

In today’s NBA the two most important traditional statistics is likely assists and field-goal percentage. In the past it was a question of whether you could keep up with the strength of the NBA. Today the question entering the league is, can you hit open shots and can you move the ball intelligently?

Surprisingly, with a team full of individually talented scorers, each player has bought into the team-first mentality. Leave it to Steve Kerr, a role-player in his playing career to preach the value of team-first basketball to a group of absolute stars.

Of course, when things aren’t going the Warriors way in the passing department (they do rank 23rd in turnovers) they have the tools to rely on isolation scoring. Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, DeMarcus Cousins, are all in the top at their position creating for themselves.

Los Angeles Lakers Roster Notes

C Ivica Zubau (illness) will be a game time decision.

C Tyson Chandler (illness) will be a game time decision.

F LeBron James (illness) will be a game time decision.

G Rajon Rondo (hand) was available to play against the Pelicans and is likely to play against the Warriors.

C Javale McGee (illness) was ruled out of Friday’s game against the Pelicans and likely won’t join the team against the Warriors.

F Michael Beasley (personal) is out indefinitely.

G-F Brandon Ingram (ankle) started against the Pelicans and is expected to play against the Warriors.

Golden State Warriors Roster Notes

C Damian Jones (pectoral) will be out for the remainder of the season with a torn pectoral.

C DeMarcus Cousins (achilles) is targeting a return in January from a torn achilles.

Head-to-Head: LeBron James vs Kevin Durant

LeBron James

28.0 PPG | 7.0 APG | 7.9 RPG | 1.3 SPG | 0.7 BPG | 3.5 TOV | .520 FG% | .367 3P%

Kevin Durant

28.8 PPG | 6.1 APG | 7.5 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 1.0 BPG | 3.5 TOV | .507 FG% | .367 3P%

Looking across the board, LeBron James and Kevin Durant are putting up numbers in 2018 that are so similar it is almost eerie. What’s more shocking is that the players are putting up similar numbers with wildly different personal and team styles of play.

LeBron James is the primary playmaker for the Los Angeles Lakers. Seeing as he does not have the three-point shooting threats he had in Cleveland, Los Angeles has opted for a Showtime, fast-break style offence reminiscent of Magic Johnson’s 80s Lakers. If James can manufacture good looks for his teammates, it will be a long night for the Warriors.

As talented as Kevin Durant is, he’s assimilated incredibly well into the Warriors ethos. Probably the NBA’s deadliest scorer, Kevin Durant has grown to understand the movement based offence of the Warriors opens up looks for everyone without the ball in his hands. There’s not a Laker that can guard Durant. Don’t be surprised to see Durant use his offensive orbit to draw in Laker defenders, to create for his teammates, before he truly decides to take over the game.

Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Golden State Warriors favoured over the Los Angeles Lakers by 9, with an over/under of 110.