Lakers Preparing for Warriors Matchup as ‘Playoff’ Game

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry, NBA News
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The run-up to the NBA playoffs is getting heated. For the Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura, the upcoming game against the Golden State Warriors is more than just a regular-season encounter. It’s a glimpse into the intensity and stakes of the playoffs.

Both teams have faced off multiple times across different stages, including preseason, regular season, and playoffs, leading to a deep familiarity and a balanced record of wins and losses.

“It’s going to be a big game, it’s almost a playoff game,” Hachimura remarked. “We played them so many times, I feel like—the preseason, the playoffs, and regular-season games, all that. So, we know each other well.”

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This longstanding rivalry has seen them split their last 10 games, making their next encounter pivotal in the season. The Lakers hold a slight edge over the Warriors in the Western Conference standings, a lead they’re eager to extend to secure a favorable position for the upcoming playoff battles.

“Who wants it more?” Hachimura asked. “We got to show the emotion and try to get this one tomorrow.”

Both teams are looking to bounce back from recent losses, with the Lakers and Warriors suffering defeats to the Kings and Mavericks, respectively. With playoff seeding on the line, Lakers coach Darvin Ham has his eyes set on a full-strength Warriors team, expecting star players Stephen Curry and Draymond Green to return from their injuries.

“We prepare as if they’re going to play,” Ham said, indicating a strategy of readiness for the Warriors’ key players.

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In the aftermath of their loss to the Kings, the Lakers have focused on internal discussions and strategy adjustments, aiming to correct mistakes and enhance their play. Ham highlighted the importance of open communication and accountability within the team as they navigate the season’s crucial phase.

“A lot of dialogue from a few different guys,” Ham explained. I think that’s been great. It’s been so healthy. I think that’s why we’ve been able to respond to some of these disappointing losses. We go in and we look it right dead in the face. Put the mirror in front of ourselves—coaches and players—and see how we can get better.”

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As the Lakers and Warriors prepare for their showdown, the game not only carries significance for their current season standings but also sets the stage for potential playoff encounters. The rivalry continues to evolve, with each game adding a new chapter to their storied competition.

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