The (43-19) Los Angeles Lakers are at Staples Center tonight squaring off with the pesky (26-34) Charlotte Bobcats. The Lakers happen to have a losing record against the Bobcats. They’ve had difficulty with the Bobcats in Charlotte and Los Angeles. In fact, the Lakers have lost eight of their last 10, and that includes a 20-point whipping in February.
The Lakers have payback on their minds tonight. They’re seeking revenge against a team that has given them fits on more than one occasion and a sixth consecutive win. This match up has been maddening for the Lakers as the Charlotte Bobcats have taken three of the last four games at Staples Center.
The Bobcats have gone through some huge changes since their February 14 win. Charlotte traded Gerald Wallace to Portland for Joel Przybilla, Sean Marks, Dante Cunningham and two first round draft picks. The two wins the Lakers have against the Bobcats were with Gerald Wallace out of the lineup due to injury.
The Lakers have won five straight games since the All-Star break with defensive focus and offensive discipline, that trend needs to continue. Due to a challenging four game road trip against four playoff teams, this is a must-win game.
The defense has held their opponents to under 40 percent shooting and made the necessary adjustments to shut them out in the second half. The Laker Nation will witness a focused and motivated team hand the Bobcats a much needed beat down.
They need to control the tempo and pace of the game, doing a good job defending the screen and roll plays, get back in transition, quickly rotate out to open shooters, challenge every shot, rebound, and limit the Bobcats to one shot per possession.
Their front line of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom have been aggressive and given the opportunity to have a huge impact on the game. They need a contribution from everyone wearing a Purple and Gold jersey. There is a chance the Matt Barnes will play tonight and his activity level and production will be a nice addition as well as a welcome sight.
The Lakers bench has to outscore the Bobcats bench and stop them from having an impact on this game.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, L. Odom and P. Gasol
Bobcats: D.J. Augustin, G. Henderson, S. Jackson, B. Diaw, K. Brown
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Charlotte: FS South (Steve Martin & Del Curry)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Charlotte: WNMX 106.1 (Scott Lauer)
- Matt Barnes (Right Knee Surgery) Game-Time Decision
- Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Out
- PF Tyrus Thomas (Torn Meniscus, Left Knee) Out
- C DeSagana Diop (Ruptured Achilles Tendon) Out
- SF Stephen Jackson (Hamstring) Day-to-Day