OAKLAND – Steve Kerr is 0-1 against his former lead assistant, Luke Walton, so the Warriors coach will be seeking a measure of revenge Wednesday night when his team faces Walton’s Lakers at Oracle Arena.
Kerr’s players have reason to be even more motivated. They’ve won eight in a row since their last loss, 19 days ago against the Lakers in Los Angeles, where they were blown off the floor, 117-97, by a team inferior in most every respect.
So this won’t be a time for the usual sense of comfort, or even complacency, that can creep into the minds of a team returning home after a four-game road trip. If anything, the Warriors (12-2) will be on purple-and-gold alert.
The surprising Lakers (8-7) are on the second night of a back-to-back set, coming off a 111-109 win over the Thunder on Tuesday in LA.
Warriors by 17
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Klay Thompson vs. Nick Young -- Thompson was dreadful in the first contest. With his father, Mychal, watching from courtside as a Lakers radio analyst, he’ll want to atone for that forgettable performance against the team he grew up watching. Once one of the league’s biggest screwballs, Young seems to found the best of himself under the guidance of Walton and Lakers top assistant Brian Shaw.
Warriors: C Damian Jones (R pectoral surgery recovery) is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the Development League.
Lakers: G D’Angelo Russell (L knee soreness), Julius Randle (hip) and C Ivica Zubac (R ankle sprain) are listed as out.
The Lakers have won the last two meetings, including the first of this season, 117-97, on Nov. 4 in Los Angeles. The Warriors have won nine of the last 13 overall.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
1) Bench brigades -- LA’s bench has been highly productive; a reserve has been the team’s leading scorer in 11 of its first 15 games. Guards Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson rank second and fourth, respectively, in scoring among NBA reserves. The Warriors will be the more rested team, which should prove beneficial.
2) Attack the paint -- The Warriors love the 3-ball, but with the Lakers doing a good job defending the arc, holding opponents to 32.7 percent (fourth), the path to the rim tends to be open. LA is dead last in opponents’ field-goal percentage at 47.5.
3) The 30 Club -- The Warriors lead the league in assists, averaging 30.9 per game, more than five ahead of the second-place Hawks. Moreover, the Warriors have recorded at least 30 in eight consecutive games. A ninth such game would be a franchise record.