NBA regular season

Surging Lakers set for holiday showdown vs Warriors

Reuters
Surging Lakers set for holiday showdown vs Warriors

FAMILIAR FOE. The Warriors will be facing the Lakers with LeBron James for the first time on Martin Luther King Jr Day.

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Lakers eye their first Martin Luther King Jr Day victory in 4 seasons against the Warriors

The Los Angeles Lakers hope to vent 3 years’ worth of holiday frustration on the visiting Golden State Warriors when the Pacific Division powers of recent years go head-to-head Monday, January 18 (Tuesday, January 19, Manila time) in the nightcap of the NBA’s Martin Luther King Jr Day celebration.

Los Angeles will be playing on the holiday for the fourth consecutive year. It has gone winless in the previous 3, thumped by a total of 60 points by Memphis, Golden State, and Boston.

The 2019 defeat was a 130-111 shellacking at home against Golden State in which Warriors’ Klay Thompson made NBA history by making his first 10 three-point attempts during a 44-point explosion.

The Los Angeles native, currently out of action while rehabbing a torn achilles, tied two NBA records that day – most consecutive made three-pointers to start a game and most consecutive made triples at any point of a game.

That win was 1 of 9 for the Warriors in their last 11 appearances in the MLK Day showcase. In all, they have been scheduled on the holiday in 20 of the last 21 years and have gone 18-10 since the NBA began honoring the day with a special made-for-TV schedule in 1986.

The Warriors will be facing the Lakers with LeBron James for the first time on the holiday, but they have plenty of experience against the superstar on the third Monday in January.

As reigning NBA finalists from the previous season, the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, then led by James, squared off on the King holiday 3 straight years from 2016 to 2018. Golden State prevailed in those games by 34 points at Cleveland, 35 points at home, and 10 points at Cleveland.

James had 16, 20, and 32 points in those games, while Warriors star Stephen Curry countered with 35, 20, and 23.

James declared Saturday that Monday’s appearance means more to him than just a shot at revenge against the Warriors. It is all about King, he said.

“His name and his words and his legacy still lives on,” James praised. “He’s shining his light on us every day.”

The Lakers have won 5 in a row, including a 112-95 over New Orleans on Friday. It was just the defending champs’ fourth victory in 7 home games, whereas they have opened the season 7-0 on the road.

James had a 21-point, 11-assist double-double against the Pelicans.

The Lakers have not played since Friday, but the Warriors will take the court even more well rested. They were last seen in Denver on Thursday, when they suffered a 114-104 loss to the Nuggets.

A game scheduled for Friday in Phoenix was postponed due to coronavirus issues within the Suns.

Curry had 35 points on 14-for-23 shooting, including going 5-for-11 on three-pointers in Denver. But he got little help from his teammates, who combined to hit just 41% of their shots, including going 6-for-18 from beyond the arc.

“We’re not really in sync yet,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr observed after his team committed 19 turnovers, including 7 by Curry. “And that’s going to take time.” – Rappler.com

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