Warriors at Lakers: 4 key questions about Wednesday’s play-in game

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As tipoff nears for the Los Angeles Lakers-Golden State Warriors play-in game, let’s get an insider’s perspective on how the Warriors look entering the contest.

At 39-33, Golden State finished an injury-riddled campaign as the eighth seed in the Western Conference, but it might not have been possible if Stephen Curry had not transformed into a human flamethrower nearly every game.

Curry took home the NBA’s scoring title this season, averaging a blistering 32.0 points per game over the 63 games he appeared in, which is also a career high for the 33-year-old guard.

The Warriors will not have Kelly Oubre Jr., Damion Lee, James Wiseman and Klay Thompson because of injuries and health and safety protocols.

To get an in-depth glimpse of the Warriors, our friend Tommy Call III, editor of Warriors Wire, answered a set of questions:

What’s the state of the Golden State Warriors heading into Wednesday night?

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Tommy Call III: "While the Lakers have been dealing with injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Warriors have been rolling with an eight-man rotation due to Kelly Oubre Jr., Damion Lee and Eric Paschall being sidelined. Despite a thin lineup, Steph Curry has surged into the NBA's race for the Most Valuable Player award with a heroic run of scoring performances. Behind Curry's red-hot shooting, the Warriors are playing their best basketball to cap the regular season, winning eight of their last nine contests."

For the Lakers to win, what will need to happen?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Call III: "Regardless of how good Curry is, the Warriors struggle to keep opposing teams off the glass, ranking in the bottom half of team rebounding. A tilt against the Lakers' massive frontline, specifically Anthony Davis, could provide problems for the Warriors. In both of the Lakers’ blowout wins of the Warriors during the regular season, LA has dominated the glass, outrebounding Steve Kerr’s squad by 16 or more in each contest. No matter how many 3s Curry drains on Wednesday night, the Warriors will not be able to hang in the game if the Lakers continue to get multiple chances at the rim."

For the Warriors to win, what will need to happen?

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Tommy Call III: "Coming off the heater, it will not be a surprise if Steph Curry goes nuclear at Staples Center on Wednesday, but the Warriors will likely need a little extra to take out the defending champs in the play-in game. That extra is Draymond Green. While Curry is rightfully earning headlines, the former Defensive Player of the Year has been playing at a near-elite level during the 2020-21 campaign. In the 19 games where Green has notched double-figures in scoring, the Warriors are 15-4. If he can be aggressive on offense as a scorer and passer while sticking with Anthony Davis on the defensive side, Green has the power to change the landscape for the Warriors dramatically. Along with his impact on the box score, there's no doubt the Warriors elevate to a higher level with Green confidently involved in every phase of the game."

Who could be an unexpected X-Factor?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Call III: "Behind Steph Curry, Jordan Poole has served as one of the most consistent scorers in Steve Kerr's rotation down the stretch. The 21-year-old has developed into a weapon off the bench in his second season. During Golden State's recent six-game winning streak, Poole has scored in double-figures in each contest, averaging 20.5 points on 53.4% shooting from the field and 39.1% shooting from beyond the arc in 26.2 minutes per game. When Curry goes to the bench for rest on Wednesday, the Warriors will need to lean on Poole as a microwave scorer against the league's top defense. If Poole can answer the bell, the Michigan product has the artillery to be a difference-maker in the play-in tournament."

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