Programming note: Warriors-Lakers coverage tips off tonight at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (Territory restrictions apply) Channel locations
LOS ANGELES – After losing at home to a Nuggets team that dressed nine players but played only eight, the Warriors deviated from their core principles and reverted to being their confounding selves.
Take nothing for granted, even if they are one win away from a playoffs berth and, therefore, should be sprinting toward the regular-season finish line.
The next challenge for the Warriors (48-30) comes Friday night in the form the Lakers, who are having one of their most forgettable seasons in 54 years of Los Angeles history.
As thin as Denver was on Thursday, the Lakers (25-53) may be even thinner – not that it should matter to the Warriors, who have proven capable of bungling custom-built victories on a whim, no matter how much is at stake.
"We've had a bunch of losses like this," center Andrew Bogut said after being defeated by the Nuggets. "It's obviously something we need to work on."
Heard that before, right?
"It's frustrating," said point guard Stephen Curry. "But the thing is, (Thursday) we started (a stretch of) five games in seven nights. So we have to figure out how to shake this one off for (Friday)."
[RELATED: With win, Warriors are playoff bound]
The Lakers, on paper, should be accommodating. Coach Mike D'Antoni's seat is far hotter than that of Mark Jackson. His team has lost five in a row, four by double digits. Four members of L.A.'s projected starting five for Friday have been forced into the lineup because of injuries. Most will be free agents this summer.
"These are the dangerous teams, the teams that have nothing to play for,'' Jackson said. "Guys are out there competing, guys out there trying to show that they deserve to be in this league, guys playing for (future jobs)."
For the Warriors, though, it's about their own habits and commitment. They have a fairly solid grip on the No. 6 seed for the postseason but nothing is assured. A win tonight would give the Warriors 49 for the season, the most they've had since ringing up 50 in 1993-94.
After missing out on a chance to celebrate with their fans at Oracle on Thursday, the Warriors confront the more difficult task of trying to win in a building where they've had very limited success.
"I'm sure they'll forgive us if we handle our business," Jackson said. "It definitely is not ideal."
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Bogut vs. Jordan Hill: After being embarrassed on Thursday by Timofey Mozgov (23 points, 29 rebounds), Bogut's pride will kick in. The big man – assuming he's not aching from a shot to the rib cage on Thursday – does not get schooled in back-to-back games.
Klay Thompson vs. Jodie Meeks: Thompson generally draws the most dangerous opposing guard. In this case it's Meeks, who is capable of scorching the net from deep. On the other end, Meeks nor any other Laker should be able to contain Klay.
INJURY REPORT: For the Warriors, PF David Lee (strained right hamstring) is doubtful. C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery rehab) is out.
For the Lakers, PG Jordan Farmar (strained right groin) is probable. PF Pau Gasol (vertigo) and PG Steve Nash (nerve root irritation) are doubtful. SG Kobe Bryant (fractured left knee), SG Kent Bazemore (torn right foot tendon), SF Xavier Henry (torn ligament left wrist, sore right knee) and C Chris Kaman (strained right calf) are out.
LAST 10: Warriors 6-4, Lakers 3-7.
SERIES HISTORY: The Warriors won two of the first three meetings this season and are seeking their first season-series win over the Lakers since 1994-95. The Warriors have lost 11 consecutive games to the Lakers at Staples Center.