LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Based on the Los Angeles Lakers’ poor start, a visit from the Golden State Warriors no longer seems like a sure victory for Kobe Bryant and his teammates.
The Lakers hope to rebound from another defeat Friday while trying for a ninth consecutive home win over the Warriors, who will be without Andrew Bogut for at least a week.
Even with Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol in the same uniform, Los Angeles (1-4) dropped its first three games before a 108-79 home victory over winless Detroit on Sunday. The Lakers, though, shot 33.8 percent and committed 19 turnovers in a 95-86 loss at Utah on Wednesday.
“We’re all frustrated,” coach Mike Brown said.
After the loss to Utah, Dwight Howard pointedly said Bryant needs to keep his frustration in check.
While Nash has missed the last three games with a bruised shin and Brown has taken heat for his new Princeton-style offense, the team has simply struggled to mesh. The Lakers rank near the top of the league with 93 turnovers and went 4 of 23 from 3-point range Wednesday.
“A lot of it just comes from reading each other, getting in sync with each other,” said Bryant, who finished with 29 points but missed all four of his 3-point attempts.
Despite playing with a nagging foot injury, Bryant is averaging 27.2 points and shooting 56.0 percent.
Howard is putting up 22.4 points per game but has failed to record double-digit rebounds in three straight. He’s averaging 9.6 rebounds – 3.4 fewer than his career mark.
The former Orlando superstar has averaged 27.0 points and 18.3 boards in his last four games versus Golden State, while Bryant is averaging 34.6 on 50.4 percent shooting in his last five against the Warriors. He scored a combined 79 points in two home wins over Golden State last season.
Howard might have an easier time in the paint Friday with Bogut out. Bogut missed all four meetings with the Lakers last season after fracturing his ankle, and though he’s played in four of Golden State’s first five games, he’ll sit out the next week to 10 days to get some added rest.
Looking for a fifth straight victory over the Warriors (3-2) and a 17th in the last 18 meetings, Los Angeles has won 33 of 36 between the teams at Staples Center. The Lakers have averaged 114.1 points and won their last eight at home in the series by 13.5 points per game.
Though the Warriors have not beaten the Lakers on the road since a 115-111 win March 23, 2008, they’ve already won at Staples Center this season, 114-110 over the Clippers on Saturday.
Golden State is 2-1 on the road and looks to build on Wednesday’s 106-96 home win over Cleveland. David Lee played through flu-like symptoms to post 22 points, 14 rebounds and six assists while Stephen Curry scored 21 as the Warriors prevailed despite blowing a 17-point lead.
“These are those games that you have to have when you look back on the season,” guard Jarrett Jack said. “You can’t be like, `Ah, this is one of those games that we kind of gave away.’ No matter who’s in uniform, you have to go out with that mindset that we have to get this `W’ no matter the situation is.”
Lee has scored 42 points in the last two games after totaling 30 in the first three. He’s averaged 21.8 and 10.8 boards in his last four versus Los Angeles.
Curry is averaging a team-high 17.4 points but shooting just 36.7 percent. He missed all four meetings with the Lakers last season.