Depending on whether Stephen Curry is blocked or not, the direction of the series between the Golden State Warriors (hereinafter referred to as Golden State) and the Los Angeles Lakers (hereinafter referred to as Lakers) will be different.
Golden State, the 3rd seed in the Western Conference, and the Lakers, the 7th seed, will play the first game of the second round of the playoffs at the Chase Center in San Francisco, California on the 3rd at 11:00 am (Korean time).
In the 2022-23 season, the two teams faced each other in four games in the regular league, with the Lakers leading 3-1. However, since both Golden State and Lakers were not normal powers, the preceding numbers are meaningless. So, let’s try to find out the core of this series.
■ Is it possible to kill curry?
The Lakers’ defensive strength lies inside the paint, guarded by Anthony Davis, and their 2-on-2 defensive ability that even controlled Memphis superstar Ja Morant.
But Curry is a player who can create more space than Morant, and he runs around while receiving screens from teammates with his hearty off-ball moves. And starting from the playoffs last season, Curry achieved another awakening. He started to score goals even in the mid-range area and developed into a player with a comprehensive offensive package.
However, Curry is also a human being, so he did not show a perfect appearance. In the first round of the playoffs against the Sacramento Kings, he struggled with Davion Mitchell, a sizeable perimeter defender, and in 2016 against LeBron James, he suffered physical problems and lost the series 3-1 to 3-4. there is.
Accordingly, the Lakers will add Jared Vanderbilt, who has experience defending Curry for all 48 minutes, and Dennis Schroeder, who has tremendous speed. And Davis will be behind the scenes watching Curry’s two-man game closely and responding.
Therefore, the point to watch is to see if it is possible to control Curry with the Lakers’ defense.
■ ‘PO Mode’ LeBron, can he wake up from an attack?
In the first round of the playoffs against Memphis, LeBron shifted gears on defense.
On the other hand, Lebron, who is in poor shooting condition after a tendon injury, was blocked several times by Xavier Thielman and Jaren Jackson Jr., and did not show the same majesty as before. Nevertheless, in Game 4, he scored 20 points and scored 20 rebounds, bringing victory to the Lakers. Austin Reeves, D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura and Davis all have the resources to contribute on the offensive court, but LeBron’s influence within the Lakers is enormous.
Accordingly, Golden State could match Jonathan Cuminga on defense to block LeBron, but will mostly leave it to Andrew Wiggins. And in the Golden State paint zone, Draymond Green’s help defense, which emits the same presence as Davis, awaits.
Expectations are high on how LeBron, whose athletic ability has clearly declined compared to his prime, will deal with Golden State.
■ Thompson vs. Reeves, Rooney vs. Davis
In the first game of the playoffs against Sacramento, Thompson, who did not have the sense to shoot, led the team to the top round by showing a high contribution from the defense. In other words, he succeeded in controlling his matchup opponent, Kevin Herder.
Thompson’s next opponent is Reeves, who is not like a second year. Reeves caught Thompson’s habits in the regular season and stopped him several times, and also stopped Desmond Bain in the first round of the playoffs. And Reeves is like a runner who is highly skilled in free-throw judo in offense.
Attention is focusing on whether Thompson’s slow feet will be able to control Reeves, or whether he will return to ‘Game 6’ Thompson and bomb Reeves.ㅋㅋㅋ벳
The secret to Golden State’s first-round victory was Curry, but also Kevon Rooney. Against Sabonis, a rebounding machine, he dominated within the paint zone and saved Golden State’s right to attack with many offensive rebounds. Now, the opponent Rooney will face is Davis, who ranks first in rebounding in the regular season.
I’m looking forward to seeing if Rooney will show off his tremendous board control against Davis again like he did with Sabonis. In addition, attention is focused on whether Davis will be able to make an onslaught like an ‘eagle’ against undersized big men.