TLN’s Game Preview: Lakers vs. Clippers

There are two brothers.

One is a born winner. The other toils in the gutters of life.

One is full of charisma. The other has about as much personality as a desk lamp.

One brother has tons of famous friends. The other has…Frankie Muniz.

I think you can see where I am headed here.

The Lakers and the Clippers are about as dissimilar as possible.

The Lakers lineage of great Centers includes Kareem, Wilt and George.

The Clippers also have a tradition at the 5 spot: utter and complete futility (See: Michael Olowakandi, Keith Closs and Benoit Benjamin).

The 2007-08 Season has been a shining example of the contrast of these two Los Angeles franchises. Both teams were hampered by injuries. The Lakers losing emerging forces Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza while the Clippers lost all-star Forward Elton Brand and young upstart Guard Shaun Livingston. The Lakers so far have responded by posting their best mark in the post-Shaq era at 53-25. The Clippers are yet again looking at the lottery with a abysmal 23-55, their ninth losing season in ten years.

While things are looking brighter for the Lakers, their terrifyingly weak defense in Portland still shows that there is room to grow. Yet facing a Clipper team without Corey Maggette and Chris Kaman should prove to be an easier task.

As the Lakers look forward to their weekend mini-playoff preview with mammoth games against New Orleans on Friday and San Antonio on Sunday (which may see the much anticipated return of Andrew Bynum) they must not let another sub-.500 team, much less their Staples Center cellar dwellers, steal a contest.

Thanks Varsity Optimism for the intro, will now release your KOBE/GASOL ‘08 Bumper Stickers. You should get them in the mail soon. ;)

Now onto Jonny’s Game Preview…

Injury List -

Lakers: Bynum (out), Ariza (out), Walton (day-to-day)

Clippers: Maggette (day-to-day), Kaman (doubtful), Livingston (out) Paul Davis (out)

Look at that injury list, the loss of Kaman and Maggette is huge for the Clippers. Since they don’t have anyone to play center, Brand will get that spot being all of 6-8ft tall. Josh Powell and Tim Thomas are the only taller options, but they aren’t expected to see major minutes at the center spot.

If Kaman and Maggette are both cleared to play this review could be rendered obsolete even before the game starts, a rare occurrence I assure you.

Marquee Matchups -

Point Guard – D-Fish and Farmar vs. Brevin Knight? Dan Dickau?: It’s hard to figure out who is going to start against the Lakers today. Personally, I can’t wait to see the Farmar vs. Smush match up. Imagine two fans at a sports bar:

Clipper Fan: Well, Smush is taller, and…

Laker Fan: And what, huh? And he plays great defense? And he makes his free throws? And he shoots a great percentage from… anywhere?

Clipper Fan: and he’s on a really cheap contract.?

… Yeah, we’ve heard that one before. :)

Advantage: Lakers.

Shooting Guard – Kobe vs. Cuttino Mobley? Quinton Ross?: Quinton Ross scored 10 points against Denver on Tuesday: Good for him. I still can’t figure out if the punchline should be that that’s only his sixth time this season or that Quinton Ross went for double figures against the Denver defense.

Either way…

Advantage: Lakers.

Small Forward – Vladdy vs. Cuttino Mobley? Corey Maggette?: Vladdy has finally been doing what we signed him to do last year -make 3-pointers. He’s a remarkable 16-30 over the last 5 games, and that includes the 0-4 stinker against Washington. Mobley had a good game against the Nuggets, but even so, his struggle this year has been consistency,

Advantage: Lakers, on current form.

Power Forward – Lamar vs. Al Thornton: Beyond the fact that Lamar is on an absolute tear, going 33-50 with no 3-point attempts (!!) over the last five games, I actually like this match up for Odom. The last time these two met, Odom held Thornton to 2 points on 1-9 shooting while throughly outplaying Thornton in every statistical category (if you don’t believe me, check the box score).

Advantage: Lakers.

Center – Pau Gasol vs. Elton Brand: The Clippers offense has been focused on re-assimilating Brand back into the offense and getting him familiar with Thornton, with the focus more on next season. While he’s not quite back to being a solid 20/10 guy, he is averaging 18/7. Pau also isn’t up to full strength and might not be able to fully take advantage of Brands rustiness.

Advantage: Even.

Bench: It’s been ages it seems since Farmar has shot well from behind the arc. In his last 5 games, he is 1-12 and only shot 17-56 in March. But at the same time, every time he was in the game against Portland, good things seemed to happen. As it was, Farmar had a Laker-high +6 for the game while Fisher had a Laker-worst -17.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Turiaf left the Lakers after this season. I mean, on the right team he could really contribute, but on the Lakers he’s been given inconsistent minutes and figures to be behind Pau, Lamar, and possibly even Vladdy in the depth chart at the 4 and definitely behind Bynum and Pau at the 5. I love the guy, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t think it would be fair for him to spend his prime years being a 10-15 minute energy guy.

In other news, Nick Fazekas is apparently a Clipper now.

Advantage: Lakers.

Key Matchup -

Gasol vs. Brand: What if we could get Brand into early foul trouble? This would force the Clippers to play small ball, but without the personnel to do it! Talk about blowing out a rival on their “home” court!

Let’s play Coach!

Lakers: They need to establish Pau early. The Clippers aren’t a really good defensive team, so inside out ball movement should always produce a good shot. They’ll need to contain Al Thornton and Elton Brand. Kobe may play a little weak-side defense and try to get blocks… at the expense of leaving Quinton Ross open of course.

Clippers: Watch for them to try posting up Brand whenever possible because, although he may be shorter than Pau, he has the definite physical edge.

Statistical Predictions -

There will be stats!!! (Ha.. Ha.. Ha..)

20+ Points: Kobe, Gasol, and Lamar.

10+ Rebounds: Lamar.

2+ Blocks: Kobe, Odom, Turiaf.

3+ 3pointers: Vladdy, Sasha.

Closest To A Triple-Double: Lamar.

Out On A Limb: Smush gets two technicals, the first one for arguing that his discontinued dribble move is totally legit on the streets of NY, and the second one for complaining that Kobe should get a technical for disrespecting the best player in the game.

Game Information -

Radio: KLAC & KWKW.

Television: TNT.

Burning Questions -

What do you guys think will happen to Turiaf?

Enjoy the game, folks!

  • http://thelakersation.com/blog PauKobeBynumDynasty

    Smush’s 2nd technical joke was great! :)

    Lakers 110-91

  • http://thelakersation.com/blog PauKobeBynumDynasty

    anyone know how to reply to a message?

  • lakerz

    [Comment ID #32290 Will Be Quoted Here]

    like that

  • lakerz

    ?

  • http://thelakersation.com/blog PauKobeBynumDynasty

    how though?

  • AndrewT

    Breaking news, Bynum’s knee hasn’t progressed enough so he won’t play on Sunday against the Spurs. In fact, he’s not even cleared for contact or practice drills. I guess he won’t play in anymore regular season games, we’ll be lucky if he makes it for the first round. Bad news considering how poor our defense is.

  • Michael_23

    Here’s the source link to AndrewT’s comment:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3340518

  • lakerz

    [Comment ID #32296 Will Be Quoted Here]

    click on the purple quote thing next to where it says the day and time you posted under your name.

  • playdefense

    the way the lakers having been playing defense lately, seems like any team can drop 150 on them.. still with that said, they should win by at least 20 tonight. …

  • DCLAKER

    Anybody know anything about Shan Foster? I checked out the shoutbox and someone posted the Mock draft and it had this guy as the one The Lakers ‘may’ pick(no guarantee). I,like any other person who’s looking for good players,checked him out on YOUTUBE and I must say he has HELLA GAME!

  • kevin

    lakers by 34!

  • kobefan2408

    sadly I agree ronny will most likely not return

  • lakerz

    [Comment ID #32323 Will Be Quoted Here]

    to bad grizzlies have our 1st round pick

  • http://thelakersation.com/blog PauKobeBynumDynasty

    [Comment ID #32311 Will Be Quoted Here]

    ok thanks

  • DCLAKER

    Damn!I forgot about that,Thanks Lakerz.

  • Kobe08-09

    [Comment ID #32325 Will Be Quoted Here]

    true
    i feel that when Pau came Truaif has not been good or he does not feel like he deserves to be there, Before Pau he was always chanting for PLays, and Screaming out stuff, Now he sad on the bench. I say he will leave and GOOD LUCK TURAIF WITH YOUR NEW TEAM >. WILL ALWAYS BE A LAKER IN MY HEART..

  • varsityoptimism

    [Comment ID #32344 Will Be Quoted Here]

    you are retarded.

  • MILO

    Why the fu-ck is the game not going to be covered by ch9 im tired of Marv Albert he sounds constipated.I think that he’s fu-ck-en bad luck for the Lakers and if the Clippers pull of an upset it’s goin to be due to Marv!

  • Kobe08-09

    [Comment ID #32345 Will Be Quoted Here]

    you retarded
    dude

  • lakerz

    two thanks in one day im dr.freakin phil.