The struggling Los Angeles Lakers head north to face an opponent against which they’ve had only limited success in recent years when they take on the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.
The Lakers make the one-day trip in the wake of a 121-111 home loss to Houston on Thursday night, capping a disappointing day in which the team stood pat at the trade deadline while many of their closest challengers in the Western Conference — including the rival Clippers — added reinforcements.
The Rockets were one of those teams, and they showed off their new look when former Minnesota Timberwolves forward Robert Covington contributed two important 3-pointers and a late block to a 14-point, eight-rebound Houston debut in the win in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, a Lakers team that reportedly had been seeking increased depth in the trade market got just 27 points from five reserves, ruining another productive night from Anthony Davis (32 points, 13 rebounds) and LeBron James (18 points, 15 assists, nine rebounds).
The defeat was the Lakers’ third in their last five games.
In the end, the loss to Houston was remembered as one attended by “retired” guard Darren Collison, who is believed to be ready to make a comeback. He was invited by Lakers executive Jeanie Buss to sit courtside, where ESPN caught up with him.
“Just watching the game, ain’t nothing to it,” Collison insisted. “Got the best seats in the house.”
The Lakers might have the same look, but it was good enough to thump the Warriors 120-94 in a November meeting in L.A. James had 23 points and 12 assists in the cakewalk, while Davis’ services weren’t even required.
The win was just the Lakers’ sixth in the last eight seasons against the Warriors, who have won the last seven series to the tune of 19-5.
The Warriors-hosted games in that run took place in Oakland. The Lakers will be making their regular-season debut at the new Chase Center in San Francisco this time around.
The game will be a homecoming of sorts for Lakers reserve Quinn Cook, who played two seasons for the Warriors and was part of their 2018 championship team. He left Golden State for the Lakers as a free agent last summer.
Cook (10 points) and another former Warriors champion, JaVale McGee (18 points, 17 rebounds), combined for 28 points in the earlier Lakers home win.
While the Lakers get a look at a new arena, Warriors fans will get a look at a reshaped roster, one from which D’Angelo Russell, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman were all dealt at the trade deadline.
Other than a handful of draft picks, the only player Golden State acquired in the deals was Andrew Wiggins, a 22.4 points-per-game scorer who immediately becomes the Warriors’ most potent offensive force with stars Stephen Curry (hand) and Klay Thompson (knee) still sidelined.
“Wiggins is an electric athlete,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr expressed Friday. “He’s been in a tough spot and people have talked about him underachieving the last few years, so let’s see what we can do and let’s see what he can do next to a group of players who have been wildly successful.”
The Warriors will be playing at home for the first time since an encouraging 2-3 trip. They have, however, lost seven of their last eight home games, including a pair to Utah and Indiana on their most recent homestand by a total of 44 points.
–Field Level Media