Photo courtesy of Jeff Gross | Getty Images
Photo courtesy of Jeff Gross | Getty Images

After watching the enigmatic Los Angeles Lakers squeak by the lowly Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday night, I concluded that when the Los Angeles Lakers take the floor Saturday night against the Golden State Warriors (17-8), it should undoubtedly be played as a statement game.

Both teams need to play with added intensity, but it’s the Lakers who need to make the statement. The Warriors are a young, upstart team having a great start to their season. They will certainly be out to prove they have arrived and are legitimate contenders.

The Lakers will be riding a 3 game winning streak, but this game is the opportunity to serve notice on the Western Conference that they are on their way back to the top. With 12 wins and 14 losses in an already signature season of inconsistency, the Lakers have to win this game and do it with defense, energy, and continuity. This is the biggest game of the Lakers season (for now), even if Steve Nash waits until the Christmas game to return to action.

With or without Nash, the Lakers are out of excuses. Every single Laker must play this game against the Warriors with intensity. Past Lakers teams have been known for coasting through the regular season and flipping the switch during the playoffs, but those teams had earned the right to coast because they won championships. This team, with the exception of Kobe, Metta, and Pau, has earned no right…YET.

This mentality (or lack of mentality) has to stop if the Lakers have plans for June. The Lakers need to make their statement, and when it’s all said and done Saturday night; their statement needs to be said with an exclamation point, and not with a period.