Anthony Davis for the defense

ANTHONY DAVIS and LeBron James battle the Golden State Warriors (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

By Hugo Baker,Orange County Tribune with wire service reports

When the Los Angeles Lakers face the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday in the fifth and possibly final game of their NBA Western Conference semifinal series, there will be plenty of scoring firepower on the court.

But the key to the game may not be how much LeBron James or Anthony Davis or Stephen Curry light up the scoreboard, but how little offensive fireworks either team sets off.

The real issue could be how much one team can stop the other from scoring.

“We’re playing the way we envisioned the Lakers to play,” said James. “No matter what goes on, we hang our hats on defense.”

That might seem strange coming from a man who is the NBA all-time scoring leader, but it echoes the ethos of the Lakers’ head coach.

“The biggest thing for me is for us to come out with a mindset to just defend,” said Darvin Ham. “I’m not worried about how we’re going to score as long as we’re on point defensively.”

Davis has received much of the credit for this – he’s had 37 blocked shots in the post-season – but it’s clearly a team effort. 

Since the playoffs began, Laker opponents have shot 41.3 percent, worst in the NBA.

The odds are on the Lakers to win, since they lead three games to one in the best-of seven series, and the Warriors have only rallied from that once in team history.

However, the Lake Show will likely place less confidence in history than in their own ability to play historically good defense.

Game Five is scheduled to tip off on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in San Francisco. Game Six – if necessary – would be on Friday back in Los Angeles.

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