The No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers will head north for Game 1 against the No. 6 Golden State Warriors to begin their Western Conference semifinal playoff series at San Francisco’s Chase Center. With the action tipping off on Tuesday, Golden State enters this matchup as the higher seed and the favorite to win the series against the Lakers at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Warriors vs. Lakers predictions
Odds to win series: Warriors -145, Lakers +120
Regular season record: Warriors 44-38, Lakers 43-39
Head-to-head record: 3-1 Lakers
Golden State only managed one victory in four regular season tries against LA, which was their first meeting of the year back in October. Since then, the Lakers have defeated their rival from the Bay three consecutive times. Still, we have yet to see a matchup in 2022-23 between these two sides that included all of the following players: Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis and Andrew Wiggins.
With the Warriors and Lakers both seemingly at full strength now, how will this all-California affair shape out? Keep in mind, the Dubs will finally be getting on a plane for this series, as opposed to bussing back and forth from Sacramento.
Pick: Warriors in 7 games
This version of the Lake Show will prove an arduous matchup for Golden State. Given that both Davis (who blocked a staggering 26 shots in Round 1 against Memphis) and James are playing premier basketball right now, it will be a clash of styles. LA’s length presents problems for the Warriors, as they depend heavily on Kevon Looney to do the dirty work down low. Looney will have his hands full with Davis as Draymond Green and Wiggins attempt to slow down King James.
However, the advantage on the perimeter goes to the Warriors. In case anyone somehow forget about Curry’s greatness, he was sure to remind all viewers of Warriors-Kings on Sunday. The skinny guard from Davidson set the a Game 7 scoring record, pouring in 50 points behind 20 made field goals with seven three-pointers. Still, Golden State will need more than just Curry. Thompson had a respectable series against Sacramento last round, but he will need to provide more scoring in the Western Conference semifinals if he wishes to get past his father’s former team. With that said, Los Angeles’ backcourt is solid behind D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Dennis Schroder, but advantage at that spot goes to Golden State.
With all the star power, rivalries between players, fans and cities and NBA marketing opportunities on display in this series, I think it goes the full seven games. Being that a potential Game 7 would be back in the Bay Area, I lean toward the Warriors winning this one.