The (51-20) Los Angeles Lakers host the (28-44) Los Angeles Clippers in the Hallway Finale.
The Lakers lead the season series two games to one. They’re 7-3 in their last 10 games overall against the Clippers. There will come a day that this match up will be considered a battle for bragging rights. However, today is not that day. The city of Los Angeles has seen some outstanding performances at the Staples Center, but the recent string of games have impressed.
The Lakers won in triple-overtime against the Phoenix Suns, the Clippers beat the Washington Wizards in double-overtime and the Kings recorded two wins in shootouts. That is 25 extra minutes of basketball; 94 points, six goals after regulation for those counting at home.
Andrew Bynum will suit up tonight and make playing in the paint difficult for Chris Kaman and Blake Griffin. Witnessing Bynum’s defense, 15.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks a game return to the lineup will be a welcome sight.
On January 21, 2009, Andrew Bynum recorded a career-high 42 points while becoming the first Laker player, not named Kobe Bryant, to post 40+ points since 2003.
The Purple and Gold have no problem rising to challenges, but they have exceeded expectations. They’re the hottest team in the association winners of 13 of their last 14 games. They’ve have won five straight and seven in a row at home.
The Clippers have added talent to their roster and are in the process of attempting to close the gap between themselves and the Lakers. They’re a young team that needs time to learn, grow and develop together. This can be a slow process.
The Lakers have to control the tempo of the game, communicate on defense and do a solid job of defending the screen and roll plays. They have to take care of the ball, get back in transition, quickly rotate out to open shooters and limit the Clippers to one shot per possession. They have to come out aggressive and dominate the glass as well as the painted area.
The Lakers have to redeem themselves defensively after losing a 21-point lead against the Suns. They need to play sound defensively control the paint and the boards to keep the Clippers under 90 points. Moreover, they have to establish both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the low post and get the ball in to them with enough time on the clock to attack. The Lakers have to rely on their offense utilize excellent ball movement and excellent player to find high percentage shoots close to the basket.
The Lakers energy, effort, defensive focus, offensive discipline, experience and execution down the stretch should allow the purple and gold add tonight’s game to the win column.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, L. Odom, P. Gasol
Clippers: M. Williams, E. Gordan, R. Gomes, B. Griffin, C.Kaman
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Los Angeles: Prime Ticket (Ralph Lawler & Mike Smith)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Los Angeles: KFWB 980 (Ralph Lawler, Mike Smith & Brian Sieman)
- Theo Ratliff ( Left Knee) Out
- Kobe Bryant (Ankle) Day-to-Day, will play
- Devin Ebanks (Stress Fracture, Left Tibia) Out
- C DeAndre Jordan (Pneumonia) Out