Game 1 between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors in this Western Conference Semifinal was an outstanding showcase of basketball at its finest. Game 2 saw an emphatic Warriors win, while Game 3 witnessed an unexpected Lakers cblowout win. What will Game 4 bring us?
While the Warriors, have struggled mightily on the road, the Lakers have shown remarkable consistency at home with seven consecutive home wins and four covers at Crypto.com Arena during their seven-game home winning streak. This starkly contrasts their road performance.
D’Angelo Russell has been an unknown in this postseason, yet his performance in Game 3 was tremendous. He set the pace early and finished with 21 points and five 3-pointers – only the third time that number has ever been reached in playoff history! Overall, 15 3-pointers were made by both teams as part of a Lakers total 15-3 scoreline.
At stake for the Lakers is one big question: Which version of Anthony Davis will show up?
He often oscillated between solid and poor performances, which was evident again in Game 3. After an outstanding first-game performance – in which he looked unstoppable – ineffectiveness in Game 2 saw him struggle significantly before rebounding back with 25 points, 13 rebounds and 7 “stocks” (steals and blocks).
Davis could be in for a challenging night if that remains the case. As he led all players in minutes played during Game 3, fatigue could become an issue.
This season, the Warriors have been an entirely different team away from Chase Center — going 13-33 straight up and 14-32 against the spread (ATS). Their Net Rating on the road ranked 23rd out of all regular-season teams, according to NBA Advanced Stats.
On the other hand, the Warriors have proven resilient in recent playoffs. Since the 2012-13 season, they are 30-14 ATS (68.1%) in these contests with 32-10-2 (76.2%) to the under. When trailing in a series, they go 16-4 both ATS and to under record.
Golden State dominated in Game 2 with their 3-point shooting performance (42 for 95 in Games 1-3) but faded badly in Game 3. While the Lakers did an outstanding job defending threes in this matchup, I expect the Warriors to rebound better come Game 4, especially given poor outings from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
The free-throw disparity has been an eye-opener in this series; in Game 3, the Lakers enjoyed 37 free throws compared to 17 for the Warriors. Game 4 could see the Lakers benefit from less favorable whistles that could allow the Warriors control of play.
Draymond Green should be back playing his brand of basketball, while Kevon Looney could benefit from some extra rest to recover from an illness.
In Game 3, the Lakers returned to basics by dominating Game 3. After an underwhelming performance in Game 2, where they barely made it past free throw line, the Lakers came home and attempted 37 free throws at free-throw line!
Los Lakers were able to utilize Anthony Davis and LeBron James’ physicality effectively and gain control for D’Angelo Russell’s stellar shooting night. Davis responded well after scoring only 11 points in Game 2, scoring 25 points with 13 rebounds for an outstanding effort in Game 3.
Game 4 should see the Warriors readjust, like in Game 2, though not to the extent where they completely overturn a 30-point loss on the road. They showed against Sacramento that they can win when pressured, though their body of work so far suggests otherwise.
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