After shootaround today we caught up with assistant coach Brian Shaw to talk about tonight’s opponent, the Golden State Warriors (video above).
He threw a couple of interesting statistics at us. Golden State leads the league in offensive rebounds and is near the top in second-chance and fast-break points. This is all indicative of a team that isn’t afraid to hoist up a lot of outside shots. That’s not really a surprise since head coach Don Nelson loves to play fast ( fast like near the border of reckless, not fast like 70 in a 65) and has a roster stocked with gunners like Stephen Jackson, Kelenna Azubuike, Jamal Crawford, Marco Belinelli and Corey Maggette.
A stat the might surprise is the Warriors ranking at the top of the NBA in blocked shots with 6.6 per game. Former Laker Ronny Turiaf is fourth in the league with 2.17 bpg in just over 17-minutes per game while starting big man Andris Biedrins is swatting away 1.45 shot per game.
It looks like the Warriors will be without Maggette (hamstring), but could regain the services of Crawford, who is still listed as questionable with a strained groin.This won’t effect the style of basketball the Warriors play, they’ll run-and-gun no matter who’s dressed, just the quality and depth.
Even without those two, and a record that only sports nine wins, Golden State is a dangerous team every single night. They showed this on Friday when they beat the Boston Celtics a day after the Lakers accomplished the same feat. In that game Boston controlled the game with a double-digit lead for the majority of the contest until hitting a cold streak in the final minutes while the Warriors caught fire and ended up with a 99-89 win.
On offense the key for the Lakers will be to go inside early and often. “Last year when Pau was with Memphis, right before the trade, he had 45 or 46 points against the Warriors. His brother this year, with Memphis again, had 26-points and 16-rebounds against Golden State. The point I was trying to make is that you have to get the ball inside against this team,” Shaw said. And it’s not just the Gasol brothers that fair well against Golden State, big men in general seem to prosper when given the touches against the Warriors.
*Editor’s Note: It was 43 for Pau, but when you get up that high who really cares
The inside game not only takes advantage of the Warriors lack of size down there but leads to high percentage shots that cuts down on long rebounds that can kick start the Warriors fast-break.
Added Shaw, “That might be our best defense, how we execute our offense to control the tempo and the pace.”