Warriors

LaVar Ball has vision: Lonzo-led Lakers end Warriors season

lavar-ball.jpg
USATSI

LaVar Ball has vision: Lonzo-led Lakers end Warriors season

It's a new season and anything can happen. And though the Warriors are the NBA's preseason title favorite, one outspoken individual believes this is the Lakers year.

"I've got a vision for this year," LaVar Ball said on the Flagrant Two podcast. "[The Lakers] are gonna win them 50 games, and they gonna get in them playoffs, and the story that's gonna be for L.A. is Steve Kerr versus Luke Walton. That's gonna be a hell of an L.A. story, because he don't want that matchup. Luke know them tendencies, for that type of team. He knows 'em. And then there's another big story that y'all gonna have: The bigmouth father LaVar said his son was better than Steph Curry -- now let's see!

"If they get them suckers in the Western Conference finals, the Lakers are gonna get them. And when they get to the Finals, my son ain't gonna lose."

The Warriors have top odds at 5/8 to win the title and 4/11 to win the Western Conference, according to sports betting website Bovada.lv. The Lakers have 100/1 odds to win the title -- 12th best in the league -- and 66/1 odds to win the Western Conference -- ninth best.

Lonzo Ball will get his first glimpse of Stephen Curry in game action on Nov. 29 in Los Angeles.

Steve Kerr offers insight into why Draymond Green is sitting vs Blazers

draymond-celtics-ap.jpg
AP

Steve Kerr offers insight into why Draymond Green is sitting vs Blazers

OAKLAND -- The Warriors made it clear Sunday that Stephen Curry would not be available Monday night against Portland, and they announced Monday morning that Zaza Pachulia also would miss the game.

Not until two hours before tipoff against the Blazers was it announced that forward Draymond Green, who had been listed as probable, also would not be available.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr studied video of the Blazers’ last game, considered their available playing rotation and decided Green’s tender right shoulder could benefit from a night off.

“That’s a big part of it,” Kerr said in his pregame news conference. “I watched their Houston game from other day. It looked like the old 6-5 and Under League. Lots of shooting, lots of spacing. They’re hard to guard. They run good stuff.

“So we’ve got to stay home with shooters and cover penetration. You’ll see our lineups reflect that.”

Green missed the game last Wednesday in Charlotte but returned, at less than full strength, to play last Friday at Detroit, his home state. Though he had a highly productive game, the Warriors don’t want to push the issue.

“I don’t think it’s serious,” Kerr said. “It’s enough to keep him from playing tonight. It’s been bothering him the last few days and it’s still aggravated, so we won’t play him tonight.”

Gameday: Warriors double-digit favorites vs Blazers

durant-kevin-drive-blazers.jpg
USATI

Gameday: Warriors double-digit favorites vs Blazers

UPDATE (5:47pm PT on Monday): Draymond Green will miss Monday's game against the Blazers due to a shoulder injury, Steve Kerr announced before the game.

***

OAKLAND -- The Warriors make their first appearance at Oracle Arena in two weeks Monday night, when they face the reeling Portland Trail Blazers.

The Warriors (21-6) are entering a stretch during which they play nine of their next 10 games at home. They own a six-game win streak, and the last two were without two-time MVP Stephen Curry. Kevin Durant immediately raised his game to a higher level.

This is the first of a five-game road trip for the Blazers (13-12), who have lost four in a row, all at home.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 10.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Shaun Livingston/Quinn Cook/Klay Thompson vs. Damian Lillard/CJ McCollum: Lillard and McCollum are the highest-scoring backcourt in the NBA. Both have deep range, with McCollum shooting 44.3 percent beyond the arc at Lillard at 35 percent. Lillard is a very proud Oakland native who always seeks to put on a show for his homecomings. Though the absence of Stephen Curry takes some of the shine off the backcourt battle, the Warriors have a full understanding that offsetting Lillard and McCollum is the key to beating Portland.

INJURY REPORT

WARRIORS: G Pat McCaw (concussion, nose contusion) is listed as questionable but will play. G Stephen Curry (R ankle sprain) and C Zaza Pachulia (L shoulder soreness) are listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

BLAZERS: F Maurice Harkless (L quad soreness) and C Jusuf Nurkic (R ankle sprain) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Trail Blazers: 5-5

GAME OFFICIALS

James Capers (crew chief), Kevin Cutler, Rodney Mott.

SERIES HISTORY

This is the first meeting between the teams this season. The Warriors swept the four-game series last season, winning by average margin of 19.5 points. They have won the last six games, the last six in Oakland 15 of 18 overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE KD SHOW: Durant was good before Curry went down. He has since been outstanding, making an impact at both ends. He’s a matchup nightmare for most opponents, and the Blazers are no different. Expect them to turn to their best frontcourt defender, Al-Farouq Aminu, to try and slow Durant. If KD plays as inspired as he has over the past two games, it probably won’t matter.

THE PACE: The Warriors will want to speed the game up at every opportunity, something with which the Blazers are not entirely comfortable. Portland is dead last in fast-break points per game (4.5) and 27th in points off turnovers (14.6 per game). The Blazers are largely dependent on jump shots out of half-court sets. The Warriors have had success lulling them into a run-and-gun battle.

THE BIGS: Having both starting centers out sets up a curious battle between JaVale McGee of the Warriors and Meyers Leonard of the Blazers, similarly athletic but unorthodox 7-footers who offset evident weaknesses with high field goal percentages (54.7 for McGee, 62.5 for Leonard) and high efficiency ratings (19.39 for McGee, 22.35 for Leonard). Should be fun to watch.