Game Day: Looking forward to Lakers-Warriors

Editor’s note: This is the Monday, May 1, 2023, edition of the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

Good morning. The Lakers know now who they’ll face next in the playoffs. It’s the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry. Second-round matchups don’t get better than this.

In other news:

After the Kings’ first-round playoff loss, GM Rob Blake said he doesn’t see many holes to fill; but offseason challenges include re-signing defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and goalie Joonas Koripsalo.
The Dodgers’ offense got creative to sweep St. Louis and give Noah Syndergaard his first win of the season.
The Angels’ José Suarez made some changes in an improved pitching performance at Milwaukee.
Australia’s Hannah Green won the LPGA’s JM Eagle LA Open at Wilshire Country Club after sinking a 25-foot putt on 18 to get into a three-way playoff.

The sixth-seeded Warriors advanced to the Western Conference semifinals by beating the third-seeded Sacramento Kings yesterday as Curry scored 50 points, the most ever by a player in an NBA game 7.

The seventh-seeded Lakers won their first-round series on Friday, routing the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies behind D’Angelo Russell’s 31 points and LeBron James’ efficient 22  to win that series 4-2.

The Lakers-Warriors series opens tomorrow night in San Francisco.

None of this felt very likely when the teams played during the regular season. On none of the four occasions did both come in with winning records. On only one of those nights did Curry and James both play, on opening night in October, a 14-point Warriors win at home.

But now it feels very right.

It’s right that the Lakers and Warriors meet in the playoffs, as the Rams and 49ers have and the Dodgers and Giants have.

This will be their first postseason clash since 1991, when the Magic Johnson Lakers beat the Run TMC Warriors. As the San Jose Mercury News’ Alex Simon points out, this will be the first time the geographic rivals meet in the postseason in the city of San Francisco, since the Warriors previously played in Oakland and Daly City.

It’s right that James and Curry meet again in the playoffs, the Lakers’ and Warriors’ first time feeling like it could be their leaders’ last time.

James has four championship rings, one with the Lakers; Curry has four, all with the Warriors. They’ve collided in the playoffs four times, Golden State beating LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers three times in the NBA Finals. This will be the first time the sport’s two most recognizable stars meet in the spring in the Hollywood glow of Arena.

And it’s right that two teams with such similar stories this season cross paths.

James is 38, Curry 35. It was a season of injuries for both men and both teams. The Lakers had to win 17 of their last 24 regular-season games and a play-in game to reach the playoffs. The Warriors had to win eight of their last 10. They then had to craft nominal upsets against hotter young teams in round 1 to get to this week.

Their regular-season struggles have led to what might be a postseason classic.

Games are Tuesday and Thursday in San Francisco, Saturday and Monday, May 8, in L.A., and then, if necessary, Wednesday, May 10, in San Francisco, Friday, May 10 in L.A., and Sunday, May 14, in San Francisco.

Elliott Teaford’s pre-series analysis and prediction sees it going seven games.

For more  previews and series coverage, bookmark the Southern California News Group’s Lakers page here, sign up for the free Lakers email newsletter Purple and Bold here, and follow the tweets from Teaford (@ElliottTeaford) and columnists Jim Alexander (@Jim_Alexander) and Mirjam Swanson (@MirjamSwanson).


• Dodgers (Tony Gonsolin pitching) and Phillies (Taijuan Walker) open a three-game series at Dodger Stadium, where Philadelphai swept three a year ago (7:10 p.m., SNLA).


The Lakers were underdogs going into their first-round victory over Memphis, but not as heavily as they are against Golden State. The Warriors are 4½-point favorites in game 1 tomorrow night and -165 favorites to win the best-of-seven series (the Lakers are +140). The Warriors are +550 to win the NBA title (second to Boston), the Lakers +750 (fifth).


“NHL-record 65 wins during the regular season and they lose in the first round of the playoffs?!? Fire Dave Rober … oh, never mind.” — Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) after the Boston Bruins’ great season met an early end with a first-round playoff loss to the Florida Panthers on Sunday, shades of the Dodgers last fall.

1,000 WORDS

Wait for it: Hannah Green watches her 25-foot putt roll toward the cup on the 18th green at Wilshire Country Club yesterday. The birdie sent Green into a playoff, which she won to capture the JM Eagle LA Open. Photo is by Marcio Jose Sanchez of the Associated Press.


Thanks for reading. Send suggestions, comments and questions by email at and via Twitter @KevinModesti.

Editor’s note: Thanks for reading the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

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