Programming note: Warriors-Lakers coverage starts tonight at 6 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
Steve Kerr's message to his team at halftime Saturday night merely emphasized the obvious. That doesn't mean the Warriors didn't need to hear it.
The Warriors held a 21-point halftime lead over the Hornets, and the coach wanted to maintain the pressure in hopes of resting his starters ahead meeting the Lakers less than 24 hours later on Sunday night.
"We said, 'We have another game tomorrow, so let's not mess around. Let's come out and play well in the third (quarter) and get everybody some rest,'" Kerr said afterward. "We were able to do that. Nobody played 30 minutes. Hopefully, we'll be fresh and ready to go (Sunday)."
The Warriors (7-2) beat Charlotte by 25, the starters sat out the entire fourth quarter and they ought to be ready when they take the floor at Staples Center to facet the Lakers (1-8).
One night after North Carolina native Stephen Curry and his teammates knocked off his hometown team, fellow guard Klay Thompson gets another chance to go after the team he grew up watching – and the guard, Kobe Bryant, he often studied.
Another similarity: Curry's dad, Dell Curry, serves as an analyst for the Hornets. Thompson's father, Mychal, has the same role with the Lakers.
"It's the same dynamic, but I don't think Dell's allegiance to Charlotte is as strong as my dad's is to LA," Thompson said of a father that often ribs his son about the overall dominance of the Lakers.
That's another dynamic that is changing. The Warriors were the better team last season and have been vastly better so far this season. Thompson scored a career-high 41 points in a 127-104 Warriors victory when the teams met Nov. 1 at Oracle Arena.
That, too, was the first of two games played on successive nights. Maybe the Warriors, who at times last season had trouble finishing off reeling opponents, won't need to many more of those "let's put 'em away" messages from the coach.
"That's a good lesson for us as we go through the season," Curry said. "When you have the opportunity to take advantage of a team, especially at home, you shouldn't have to win the game two or three times. Put them away when you have the opportunity."
The obvious benefits of rest should come in handy Sunday night.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Thompson vs. Bryant -- If Kobe plays, and he usually finds a way, it's another chance for Thompson to show he's now a better all-around player than the man he idolized as a youngster.
Andrew Bogut vs. Jordan Hill -- Bogut is the vastly superior player, but Hill plays hard and can be relentless. That sometimes amounts to surprising production.
Warriors – F David Lee (strained left hamstring) is out indefinitely.
Lakers – G Kobe Bryant (viral infection) did not participate in the morning shootaround but is expected to be in the lineup. G Steve Nash (sciatic pain), G Nick Young (right thumb surgery), G Wayne Ellington (personal reasons; death in the family) and F Julius Randle (fractured right tibia) are out.
The Warriors have beaten the Lakers three consecutive times for the first time since 1994, with the last win in Los Angeles (April 11, 2014) snapping an 11-game road losing streak. The Warriors are seeking to win consecutive road games against the Lakers for the first time since '94.