Just a year after helping the Warriors break the Bulls 72-win record, Luke Walton has returned home to Los Angeles and hopes to help the middling Lakers find success in the post-Bryant years with a team full of budding young talent. Golden State, on the flip-side, added Kevin Durant and is looking to avenge last season's 3-1 choke in the NBA Finals, a memory that is probably lingering on Walton's mind.
Just five games into the young season, the Lakers have managed a 2-3 record, with victories over the Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks, two playoff teams from a season prior. They also went into Indiana and nearly pulled an upset at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, narrowly losing by seven. Same against Utah.
"I think it's just good for the guys," Walton said after the win. "They've been giving a hell of an effort all year. Training camp, preseason. When you can hear the joy in their voice and them having fun after they win instead of the quiet locker room when they lose, it's nice, and I think it makes it easier to continue to want to work hard, when you know that feeling's at the end of the tunnel."
Golden State is coming off a blow-out win against Durant's old team by a 122-96 margin, which included a lot of jawing between Durant and Enes Kanter, Oklahoma City's primary backup big man. Durant played longer than he probably should have has well, helping pad his stats and further give the state of Oklahoma, and a majority of the NBA a reason to dislike him.
The last time the two teams met up, Los Angeles held on for a stunning 112-95 victory, one of the Warriors nine losses. Whether the Warriors will be looking for payback or not remains to be seen.
Timofey Mozgov is listed as questionable for the night, giving Zubac his second start, after playing for 19 minutes against the Hawks and scoring six with three boards. He didn't miss a single field goal either.