The (10-8) Lakers host the (9-5) Clippers tonight as the tenants of the Staples Center resume the renewed hallway series. The Lakers are 20-4 all-time against the Clippers at home, 9-1 in their last 10, winners of the last eight. The Lakers are 6-4 in their last 10 games overall. The Lakers lost game one and trail the Clippers in the season series after winning the series last year (3-1).
As expected, Chris Paul has literally changed everything in this series. If the Lakers do not come out of top tonight, the Clippers will win the season series against the Lakers for the third time in franchise history, as the L.A. Clippers in the 1992-1993 season and as the Buffalo Braves in the 1974-1975 season.
The Clippers are a confident group playing good basketball and enjoying their best 14-game start since 2006-2007. The purple and gold are 9-2 at the Staples Center this season. The Lakers have struggled mightily to score points this season and everyone is frustrated. The Lakers, on a three-game-losing skid, have gone 11-straight games scoring under the century mark exceeding 100-points only once this season.
The Lakers are searching for answers. Normally this would be a great time to exhibit some patience with the new-look Lakers; however, it is doubtful with a shortened season that the purple and gold have the luxury of time to be patient. The loss of Lamar Odom has increased the workload of Pau Gasol. Gasol is a team player who has made several adjustments this season and has been truly professional throughout the process.
Due to the lack of speed, athleticism on the perimeter, guards that are skilled at running the pick-and-roll play head coach Mike Brown is using Pau Gasol more as a facilitator, jump shooter further away from the basket.
Pau Gasol is a two-time NBA champion dealing with decreased production, increased scrutiny and more than likely not participating in this year’s all-star game.
Gasol has not drawn a line in the sand and demanded more touches in the post, but who could blame him if he did? Gasol has posted 4 triple-doubles, 326 double-doubles, 40 30+-point games and 2 40-point games. However, the state that the Lakers are in seems to scream out go back to the triangle offense.
It is evident that Jerry Buss’s son, Jim, wanted to scrap the triangle offense and the loss in last year’s playoffs provided Jim Buss the perfect opportunity to act. A move back to the triangle would be a quick fix to what ails the purple and gold. A move back to the triangle would mask the Lakers weakness at point guard, due to the fact that, you do not need a traditional point guard to run the system.
A move back to the triangle is something that your core players already know, are highly productive executing and have won championships utilizing. A move back to the triangle would allow the Lakers to go to their strength in the post more fluidly; players would be more productive knowing where their shots will come from. It is also a way for both Metta World Peace and Luke Walton to be more productive. A move back to the triangle would give the Lakers an offensive foundation to easily attack on the interior and fall back on when the play breaks down.
The triangle offense is based on spacing (15-20 feet apart), which keeps passing and cutting lanes open, constant ball movement, constant player movement and versatility, due to the fact that, any player can pass or shoot. The ball constantly moves from weak to strong making the defense work.
It is a known fact that Brian Shaw would have been the perfect fit to take over for Phil Jackson, due to his knowledge of the system. This is not an indictment of Coach Mike Brown. Coach Brown is a solid coach who has established a phenomenal defense, everyone has bought in and the Lakers are a top-five defensive team. However, it is at the detriment of the offense. Coach Brown has not had the luxury to time to install his offense.
The Lakers need to do a solid job defending the pick-and-roll play, stop the dribble penetration of the guards, control the tempo, get back in transition, rebound and quickly rotate out to open shooters.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, M. Barnes, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Clippers: C. Paul, C. Billups, C. Butler, B. Griffin, D. Jordan
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West (Bill Macdonald & Stu Lantz)
- Los Angeles: Prime Ticket (Ralph Lawler & Mike Smith)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
- Los Angeles: KFWB 980 (Ralph Lawler, Mike Smith & Brian Sieman)
- Derrick Caracter (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Left Knee) Out
- Kobe Bryant (Torn Lunotriquetral Ligament, Right Wrist) Probable
- Pau Gasol (Sprained Right Shoulder) Probable
- Steve Blake (Bruised Ribs) Out
- Chris Paul (Hamstring) Game-Time Decision
- Caron Butler (Knee) Day-to-Day