2021 NBA Play-in Tournament – Game 4 Preview
- When: May 19, 2021
- Time: 10:00 PM EST
- TV: ESPN
- Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
(7) Los Angeles Lakers
Ah well, here we are. When the Play-in Tournament was announce did we ever expect the Los Angeles Lakers to be drawn down that far in the standings? Most sensible NBA fans didn’t expect that but here we are! A Stephen Curry vs LeBron James showdown yet again. This time James is more on the side of the favorites for this matchup instead of the past times he’s faced Curry and the Warriors.
The concealing part of this game is that the Lakers just welcomed back Anthony Davis and LeBron James in a span of two weeks. One extra game for the Lakers to secure the 7th seed and rest until May 22nd? You bet! Let’s make no mistake here. When healthy (like they were at the beginning of the season) the Lakers are among the top 3 best defensively and Davis is a huge factor.
I bet that we can figure the NBA never thought the prestigious Lakers (who are defending the NBA Championship by the way) would be at this point. The good news is Anthony Davis returned on April 22nd and quickly began to look like himself. Davis scored 42 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 48-percent from the field in a win over the Suns on May 9th. Also back for the Lakers is Dennis Schroder who missed the previous 7 games before turning on May 15th. The Lakers enter the tournament with a 5-game win streak.
(8) Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry is having a year. That’s it that is all that needs to be said. More specifically, he’s the All-Time Points Leader in Golden State’s franchise history. He’s running the count even more by securing the scoring title this season as well with this 32 points per game. The Warriors without Curry are probably at best a 25 win team (no disrespect to Draymond Green). I think he’s an honorable mention for an MVP candidate but not top 3.
The good thing about this game is that the Warriors still have a shot to get into the playoffs to secure their 8th seed. They’ll face the Utah Jazz in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs if so. Golden State will have to prove they can beat the winner of Game 3 (Memphis or San Antonio) first. The advantage the Warriors have in Game 4 is that they’ll know their next opponent if they lose this game by the time they are tipped off in Los Angeles. Does that play into terms of how they play Game 4?
In order to lock themselves into the 8th seed Play-in Tournament position, the Warriors looked too confident in beating the Grizzlies this past Sunday. Curry’s 46 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds led the Warriors to a 113-101 8th seed clinching win. I have to believe the Warriors are the ones with the least amount of pressure here. Making it all so appealing that a possible close game and Steph Curry dagger is all but impossible.
Top players to watch
LeBron James: 2020-2021 Season
- 25.0 PPG
- 7.8 APG
- 7.8 RPG
- 51% FG
Stephen Curry: 2020-2021 Season
- 32.0 PPG
- 5.8 APG
- 5.5 RPG
- 48% FG
Where should the money go?
I have a rule of thumb when it comes to two guys in the world of team sports. That is don’t bet against them if they are favored and in this case favored with a better team on paper. Those two guys happen to be LeBron James and Tom Brady.
The Lakers are clearly the better team when fully healthy. Their concern at this point is wondering if Davis and James will have any relapse of their injuries this season or are they rested enough to pursue the back-to-back title run. Barring any injuries, it is hard to say the Warriors win this game unless we find them down 2 points and Stephen Curry has the last shot.
How about this game for the tournament though? Instead of Zion Williamson vs Ja Morant or Portland vs Dallas, we’re looking at Stephen Curry and LeBron James still trying to secure a playoff spot. However, it is not life or death and the latter is Memphis or San Antonio on the other side. I expect both of these teams in the playoffs by Saturday.
As always check out our expert daily picks too!
2021 NBA Play-in Tournament Schedule – Western Conference
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Friday, May 21, 2021