Lakers vs. Warriors: Latest Updates, Twitter Buzz Going into West Coast Showdown
The last time the two teams met was on January 6th, an entertaining game in which the Lakers won 97-90 behind Kobe Bryant's 39 points.
The showdown on March 27th may be even more exciting than the first because of the news and buzz surrounding it.
How will the new-look Lakers play following a Sunday night loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, and how will Bryant respond after being benched?
Meanwhile, how will the struggling Golden State Warriors fare against the Lakers without Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut?
The Benching of Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant was benched for a few crucial minutes in the fourth quarter of the team's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.
But, is this really a big deal? Not to Kobe.
While it was evident that Bryant was upset during the game when he elbowed a chair during a timeout, he was reluctant to make a big deal of his frustrations.
Meanwhile, Mike Brown has justified the benching by stating that he "just felt like [he] needed to make a sub at the time." At the time of the benching, Bryant had already played 38 minutes and 27 seconds, and Brown believed that he needed a couple minutes of rest.
Judging from Bryant's and Brown's comments, it's pretty clear that Bryant's benching won't play a huge role in the game against the Warriors.
It seems the two just want to put it behind them and move on.
Lakers Defense and Energy
Against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Lakers didn't play well defensively. They allowed the Grizzlies to score 102 points on 51.2 percent shooting, and Andrew Bynum only had four rebounds.
We can't ignore what's going to make us a great team, and what's going to make us a great team is playing defensively and solid at that end of the floor. Offensively, whether we play better or not, we just have to be more consistent on the defensive end of the floor.
In addition, the Lakers shot a low 42.5 percent from the field, and their bench was outscored by the Grizzlies bench, 41-9.
Ramon Sessions elaborated on the Lakers' lack of energy after the game:
Tonight was one of those games were the energy wasn't really there. We turned it on in the second half to cut the lead down, but they went on another run and it was a little too late at the end.
Andrew Bynum commented on his poor display on the boards, by saying that he needs "to play better defense." Mike Brown elaborated by saying that defense is something Bynum "has to pick up in order for [the team] to have success."
Clearly, the Lakers game against the Grizzlies was a bad one, and the team realized this.
They hope to turn things around against the Warriors by honing their defensive intensity and energy.
Stephen Curry's Ankle
Stephen Curry spoke publicly about his injured ankle for the first time on March 26th.
Curry stated that he visited Dr. Richard Ferkel, a foot specialist, on Thursday to talk about his ankle.
Fortunately, ankle surgery isn’t necessary.
However, Curry made it evident that he wants to come back fully healthy. He doesn’t want to be the "only one [on the team] who’s banged up."
Curry isn’t sure when he’ll return to the court, but he hopes to get to 100 percent as soon as possible.
Monday was the first time he shot on the move without any pain, indicating that there definitely is a chance that he’ll return this season.
But, will he play against the Lakers on Tuesday? Nope.
Instead, we're likely to see more of rookie Charles Jenkins and fourth-year player Brandon Rush.
Where's Andrew Bogut?
Andrew Bogut hasn’t played a game for the Warriors since being traded to the team prior to the March 15th trade deadline, and he doesn’t expect to play until he feels healthy.
For now, Bogut is working on conditioning and his upper-body weight work.
In an interview, Bogut stated that his injuries aren’t chronic:
The last two injuries, I can’t control falling on my arm and breaking everything in my right arm. And I can’t control having a good defensive quarter in Houston … and falling on a foot. If you call that chronic, it’s pretty uneducated in my opinion. But the reality is I have been hurt, so I need to try and, I don’t know, maybe see a witch doctor in the offseason to get that bug away from me.
Despite the Lakers' loss to the Grizzlies on Sunday night, Marc Stein of ESPN has the Lakers fifth on his weekly power rankings because of Session's impact, Gasol and Bynum's dominance down low and Bryant's great play.
Stein has the Warriors at 22 on his power rankings.
Meanwhile, John Hollinger of ESPN has the Lakers at seventh on his list with a rating of 102.969, and the Warriors at 22 with a rating of 98.096.
NBA author Roland Lazenby commented on Mike Brown's coaching and questionable benching of Kobe Bryant, saying, "Tex Winter always said basketball is full of mysteries, players who are more or less than what they seem. Just saying Mike Brown needs time."
Are the Lakers really a better team after making a trade for Ramon Sessions? NBA writer Arash Markazi weighs in. "Lakers are still in good shape but there's no question jury is still out on how good they are post-trade with a 3-3 record and 2-2 at home."
Warriors beat writer Marcus Thompson makes it known that teams should be worried about rookie shooting guard Klay Thompson, claiming, "Warriors' Klay Thompson has scored 10-plus in 13 consecutive games. During streak, he’s averaging 18.7 points on 42.3 percent shooting."