Tonight's game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors is not only a battle of undefeated teams, but figures to be a high-paced affair. In the early going this season, the Lakers and Warriors are fifth and seventh in the NBA, respectively, in pace rating:
|Team||Pace Rtg*||NBA Rank|
|*Pace Rtg is an estimate of possessions per 48 minutes|
The Lakers have played at a high pace in the first two games, a contrast from last season when they were ranked 14th in the league with 92.8 possessions per game. The Warriors led the NBA in pace last season, and in three of the last four seasons as well. The one season that Golden State didn't lead the NBA in pace rating, they finished second.
The Warriors are similar in style to the Lakers' first two opponents, making for some exciting basketball, writes C.A. Clark of Silver Screen and Roll:
I mean, c'mon NBA. For a team like the Lakers, the regular season can be a bit of grind, and that sentiment can extend to the fanbase as well. Let's face it, for a team with its eyes on postseason glory, the whole process of getting to that postseason is a bit of an afterthought. But did the NBA really have to drive that point home by scheduling the same team for the Lakers' first three games? Fast pace, offensive firepower, little to no defense, you might as well combine these three teams and call them the Golden Phoenix Rockets. Actually, that sounds kind of awesome. Who says contraction is a bad idea?
Then again, if the beginning of this NBA season has lacked a bit of variety when it comes to our opponents, it certainly has not lacked in quality entertainment. For the general public, an up-and-down game with lots of points is always going to have the watchability edge over teams that dig in and slow the game down. So perhaps we should be thanking the league for easing us into the season and not forcing a slow down slug-fest against a team like the Bobcats or Hornets.
Of course, with Stephen Curry out tonight, the Warriors won't be as potent offensively, but expect an up-and-down affair tonight at Staples Center, perhaps not unlike last night's football game between USC and Oregon at the Coliseum.
For more Lakers news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.