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Preview/Open Thread: Lakers, Warriors Play-In... LET’S GO!

The winner gets to play the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

What: Golden State Warriors (39-33) at Los Angeles Lakers (42-30)

When: 7:00 PM AZ Time

Where: In Lala Land, baybeee

Watch: ESPN

Oh lord, HERE. WE. GO!

LeBron James is back. Anthony Davis is back. Stephen Curry is on fire. And Draymond Green is channeling his doeverythingthatStephdoesntdo mojo with triple doubles all over the place.

Three perennial MVP candidates will face off in a 2021 NBA Playoffs “play-in” game tonight on TNT.

The winner plays the Suns on Sunday to start a seven-game first round series. The loser has to come back Friday night to earn the right to play the Utah Jazz in a first-round series. If the loser loses AGAIN, they go home for the summer. They’re done. Kaput.

What the heck is a Play-In? See my primer right here and thank me later.

Lakers Update

LeBron James is still battling with his ankle, but probably will magically play like the MVP he is and forget all about that ankle stuff. Anthony Davis is battling something too. But everyone else is healthy and ready to go.

That gives the Lakers a full deck, and guess how good they are with a full deck?

The Lakers are 20-7 with Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Dennis Schroder all in the starting lineup, and 22-23 when at least one of them is out.

Tonight, they are all expected to be in the Lakers starting lineup, so you can guess how this game is likely to go.

The only silver lining for Warriors fans is whether Davis and/or LeBron are shells of themselves due to lingering injuries, but don’t count on it.

Warriors Update

Well, Kelly Oubre Jr. is still out with a wrist issue, and likely won’t even play in a first round series if the Warriors make the playoffs.

The Warriors are also missing their No. 2 overall draft pick, James Wiseman, due to a season-ending knee injury. And of course All-Star Klay Thompson is out for the second straight year.

Despite those injuries, the Warriors have won 8 of their last 9 games and 15 of 20 overall (best in the league) to finish 39-33 and take the 8th spot with a chance to jump to 7th by beating the Lakers.

In the last 20 games, Steph and Dray have been incredible but so have their role players who have figured out how to support the stars in ways that help win basketball games. The Warriors finished the season with the 5th best defense over 72 games, a lot of that thanks to Dray and the Gang. In the last 20 games alone, the Warriors have the league’s BEST defense along with the 8th best offense.

Bottom Line

The Warriors are rolling hard after a rough start. The Lakers are finally healthy after a rough middle.

Now they have a one-game play-in to take the 7th seed into the playoffs.

Let’s go!

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