Photo by Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images

The (12-9) Los Angeles Lakers in their final home game before their six-game Grammy road trip host the (3-18) Charlotte Bobcats. The Lakers got a double rarity in their 106-101 road win against the T-wolves, their 16th straight. The facts that the Lakers reached the century mark and recorded their second road win of the season. The Lakers big three of Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol were the difference in the game and will have to be in every game.

The Lakers split the two-game season series with the Bobcats last year for the second consecutive year. These teams have met 14 times and the Lakers trail the all-time series 6-8. The Bobcats are one of only two teams in the NBA that the Lakers have a .500 or losing record against, the other sports a green and white jersey and resides in the state of Massachusetts.

The Bobcats are on an 8-game losing streak. The Bobcats have the worst record in the association and are one of four teams that have lost nine of their last 10 games (the others Hornets, Pistons & Knicks). This contest screams trap game for the purple and gold.

The question becomes will the purple and gold play like the Lakers or play down to their competition?

In 13 career games against Charlotte, Kobe Bryant is averaging 29.6 points per game, his highest career average against any team in the association. The Lakers need to come out with a high energy level, superior effort and play with a sense of urgency. The Lakers need to approach and mindset that this game as the most important game on the schedule.

The Lakers need a balanced effort offensively with a solid contribution from everyone in a gold jersey. The Lakers success is predicated on the defense and rebounding. The Lakers need to have a strong game defending the pick-and-roll play, stop the dribble penetration of the guards, control the tempo, box out their men and own the offensive & defensive boards.

It is imperative that the Lakers play better against a zone defense and not fall into the trap of casting up a thousand three-point shots. L.A. has to win the points in the paint battle, limit their turnovers, defend and quickly rotate out to open shooters. The Lakers need to run their offense through Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol and give them enough touches to affect the outcome of the game. Bynum and Gasol need to be aggressive and attack the basket.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, M. Barnes, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Bobcats: K. Walker, G. Henderson, T. Thomas, B. Diaw, D. Diop

Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Bill Macdonald & Stu Lantz)
  • Charlotte: FS South (Steve Martin & Del Curry)

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
  • Charlotte: WNMX 106.1 (Scott Lauer)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Josh McRoberts (Sprained Left Big Toe) Probable
  • Kobe  Bryant (Torn Lunotriquetral Ligament, Right Wrist) Probable
  • Steve Blake (Bruised Ribs) Out

Bobcats:

  • D. J. White (Knee) Day-to-Day
  • Gerald Henderson (Back) Day-to-Day
  • D.J. Augustin (Toe) Out