Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant is more than likely playing in his final game against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday. If he makes it to the fourth quarter, then there’s a very good chance that Stephen Curry and Draymond Green will have front row tickets to watch the future Hall of Fame inductee. According to CBS Sports, Curry and Green have yet to play in the fourth quarter in their first three meetings with the Lakers this season.
When you’re a star player in the NBA, and you’re not playing in the fourth quarter, then that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It usually means that your team is so dominant that you’re not really needed at that point. To say that the Golden State Warriors have been dominant this season would be quite the understatement. They have an extremely good chance at beating the single season win total held by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Plenty of times this season, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green have become spectators in the fourth quarter. The duo is so dominant that the Golden State Warriors are usually sitting on a comfortable lead some time during the third quarter. To ensure that they make it through the end of the season, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has the enviable luxury of being able to rest his two best players because the rest of the roster can finish off the game.
The Golden State Warriors have one of the deepest rosters in the entire NBA. If Stephen Curry needs to sit, then they can turn to a handful of players. Shaun Livingston was once a heavily hyped rookie with the Los Angeles Clippers, but he has now transitioned himself into one of the best bench players in the league. Leandro Barbosa and Andre Iguodala are both former starters in the National Basketball Association, and they can capably fill in for Curry.
There’s also depth behind Draymond Green as well. If he sits in the fourth quarter, then Steve Kerr has a couple of options that he can turn to. Marreese Speights has proven that he can handle minutes, especially if the Golden State Warriors already have the lead. Anderson Varejeo, the new guy, can also play as well. Festus Ezeli is pretty solid. If need be, the Warriors can also go small ball by moving Harrison Barnes to the power forward position.
When it comes to depth, the Los Angeles Lakers are not as fortunate as the Golden State Warriors. This is easily one of the worst seasons in the history of the Lakers franchise, and much of that is because the team simply lacks in talent and experience. Younger players like D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Julius Randle have potential, but they’re not on that level just yet right now.
With that in mind, there’s a very good chance that the Golden State Warriors will have already captured a tremendous lead by the time that the two teams head into the locker room at halftime. Not a lot of people are giving the Los Angeles Lakers a chance at winning the game. Since their chance at beating the Chicago Bulls record and capturing the top seed in the Western Conference would still be in tact, it makes all the sense in the world for Steve Kerr to pull Stephen Curry and Draymond Green from the game.
Don’t expect Stephen Curry and Draymond Green to be too upset if Steve Kerr pulls them in the fourth quarter. Both guys have a ton of respect for Kobe Bryant and are fans. Being able to just sit back, relax and enjoy the final few games that Bryant has left in the NBA, that would be considered a treat.
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