It seems like it happened a million years ago with how much has gone in on Los Angeles this season, but back on Christmas Day, the Lakers walked into Oracle Arena and thrashed the Golden State Warriors, 127-101. Of course, that game is more well-known for LeBron James suffering a groin injury that cost him a substantial chunk of time, during which the Lakers went from a playoff squad to a team that ended up missing the postseason all together.
This is part of the reason why there’s so little hype around Thursday night’s matchup between the two sides at Staples Center. James getting shut down for the year certainly contributes to this, but at the end of the day, this game pits a championship-caliber team against a franchise that’s looking forward to seeing how the ping pong balls bounce in a few weeks.
Still, it’s easy to look back on that game at Oracle on Dec. 25 and wonder what would have happened if James stayed healthy. For Warriors coach Steve Kerr, it’s simple: That L.A. team looked like one of the premier squads in the conference.