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.
“When they beat us on Christmas, to me, they looked like one of the best teams in the West,” Kerr said, according to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. “They were playing like it. I don’t know where they were in the standings, but you could feel how good they were (and) the fact that they were coming together.”
Kerr went on to say he was “disappointed” with how injuries derailed this season for James and co., saying “I want everybody to be healthy every year. It’s better for the league, it’s better for all the people involved.”
You can easily make the case that a healthy Los Angeles squad is getting ready for the playoffs right now, and Thursday’s game between the Lakers and Warriors would be appointment television. Instead, it’s the latest reminder that this is going to go down as a lost season for every non-Clipper in the City of Angels.