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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors Play-In Game: Who Wins? (Full Comparison)

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors Play-In Game: Who Wins? (Full Comparison)

The Los Angeles Lakers have had a difficult season with LeBron James and Anthony Davis missing significant time. LeBron has only played 43 games this season while Davis only played 33 games. Without their two stars, the Lakers have fallen to the 7th seed in the Western Conference. This means that it is very likely the Lakers will play the Golden State Warriors in the Play-In game depending on what happens with Portland.

The Portland Trail Blazers now hold a one-game lead over the Lakers and the head-to-head tiebreaker. So Portland needs to go 1-3 over the next 4 games while the Lakers can grab the 6th seed if they go 3-1. Therefore, it is very possible that the Lakers and Warriors play each other if Los Angeles doesn't grab the 6th seed successfully.

When looking at both teams, they both have strengths and weaknesses that will come into play in the massive Play-In game. The Lakers have a much easier schedule coming up than the Warriors with games against the Knicks, Rockets, Pacers, and Pelicans. The Warriors have the Suns, Pelicans, and Grizzlies to finish off the season. But which team has the edge in a Play-In game? It is time to find out.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis vs. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green

LeBron James and Anthony Davis vs. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green

The Lakers have a clear advantage in star power. LeBron James is the best player in the world when healthy, and Anthony Davis is among the top five players in the world when he is on the court. With LeBron and Davis on the court, they have an advantage over any team in the NBA besides Brooklyn's Big Three.

That means the Lakers have an advantage over the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors have the best point guard in the NBA in Stephen Curry, and also a defensive stopper in Draymond Green. But at this stage of his career, Green isn't an impact player without Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson by his side anymore. Curry is the only star on the Warriors against a dominant Lakers duo.

Advantage: Los Angeles Lakers

Starting Lineups

Starting Lineups: Lakers vs. Warriors

The starters of both teams are strong when healthy. The Lakers have big names such as James, Davis, and Drummond while Schroder and Caldwell-Pope have proven they can play well in the postseason. With LeBron handling the rock, the Lakers have arguably the best starting five in the Western Conference. The core of Caldwell-Pope, Davis, and James also won the title last year.

The Warriors have Curry and Green as the focal points on offense and defense respectively, while Wiggins and Looney can defend and do their job to maximize Curry's impact on offense. The health of Kelly Oubre Jr is in question although it was made clear that surgery is not needed. If Oubre is healthy, it helps the Warriors greatly on offense due to his size and versatility although the Lakers still have an advantage.

Advantage: Los Angeles Lakers


Lakers Bench vs. Warriors Bench

Lakers Bench: Alex Caruso, Wesley Matthews, Ben McLemore, Talen Horton-Tucker, Alfonzo McKinnie, Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris, Kostas Antetokounmpo, Devontae Cacok, Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell

Warriors Bench: Nico Mannion, Mychal Mulder, Gary Payton II, Damion Lee, Kent Bazemore, Eric Paschall, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Alen Smailagic

The Lakers bench is deeper than Golden State's. Montrezl Harrell is the best bench player on both teams, while Horton-Tucker is a capable all-around forward who can score and also defend the perimeter. Kyle Kuzma can always help on both ends of the court and this would be a great challenge for him. Other than those three, Matthews and McLemore are sharpshooters while Marc Gasol plays important minutes to back up Davis and Drummond.

Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors have a solid group of guards who can shoot and a capable big in Paschall. If the Warriors bench can get hot and nail shots from the perimeter, they will help out Stephen Curry in the team's bid to win the Play-In game. Otherwise, a massive edge to the Lakers.

Advantage: Los Angeles Lakers

Coach: Frank Vogel vs. Steve Kerr

Coach: Frank Vogel vs. Steve Kerr

Both coaches are NBA champions with experience coaching superstar players. Coach Frank Vogel has coached Paul George before and also LeBron and Davis last year. Vogel is a tremendous defensive coach and he has made the Lakers a formidable team to play against since getting hired. Of course, he has the luxury of having LeBron James running the offense.

Meanwhile, Steve Kerr is a champion both as a player and a coach. He has shown the ability to remain calm in the biggest stage, whether that's hitting a game-winning shot or coaching a team full of superstar talent. As a result, there is no edge between the coaching of both teams.

Advantage: Even

Who Will Win The Game?

The outcome of the game depends on the health of LeBron James. The Lakers are a loaded team with big names such as James, Davis, and Andre Drummond but The King is the biggest. His leadership and championship pedigree is the most important attribute in the Lakers title hopes. If LeBron is healthy, the Lakers have too much on the roster for Golden State. Los Angeles has size, experience, and a ton of scoring talent.

But if LeBron isn't healthy, the Warriors will win off a 50-point game by Stephen Curry. The superstar point guard is very capable of going off and leading his team to victory against any team in the league for one single game, and this might happen if James isn't on the court. Davis is not at full capacity yet while Curry is at an MVP level, which means Golden State has the edge in a game for all the cards.

Result: Lakers Win If LeBron Is Healthy, Warriors Win If Not