The purple and gold are looking to bounce back on the road from the Christmas Day loss to the Bulls. A solid effort derailed by a 50-second span the included turnovers, missed free throws, mis-communication defensively and not finishing the game. Despite the loss, there were several positives as well as negatives to take away from the season opener.
The Los Angeles Lakers are playing the Kings in their first road game of the season. The Lakers won last year’s four game season series three games to one, after sweeping the 2009-2010 season series. L.A. has won nine of their last 10 meetings with the Kings at ARCO Arena / Power Balance Pavilion.
The Kings are one of the youngest teams in the league, but this team is not short on talent. John Salmons (32) & Francisco Garcia (30) are the oldest players on the team. This contest presents the Lakers with another solid challenge to overcome. Rookie Jimmer Fredette is an interesting player, some have gone as far as to say that he could be the Tim Tebow of the NBA. While we’re at it, the best way to describe Tebow would be as a polarizing figure, a football player and a winner, but not as one of that leagues best quarterbacks.
Fredette is in the process of making the transition from high-scoring college guard to playing more off the ball. Fredette is a combo guard with tremendous shooting range off the catch or dribble. Fredette has yet to prove that he can be effective distributing the basketball offensively or defend guards at the pro level.
The Kings possess a talented group of front line players that includes three 6’11” players and one 7-footer. The Kings are a young team that wants to get out in transition and score easy baskets. Offensively, the Lakers have to stop this penchant for high turnovers. The turnovers should decrease as the team improves their spacing and familiarity with the system and each other. The purple and gold’s ball movement and player movement have to improve to find high percentage shots.
The Lakers have to be aggressive, get to the free throw line and convert. There is nothing more disgusting than losing a game by one-point knowing that you missed nine free throws.
The Lakers front line has to come out aggressive, play with a high energy level and attack the basket. Tonight L.A. needs to start their offense on the inside and establish Pau Gasol in the post. The Lakers front line of Devin Ebanks, Josh McRoberts and Pau Gasol played well in the season opener, but need to increase their production. The Kings front line players will be extremely physical with them. The Kings have enough size to affect what the Lakers want to do, but the Lakers need to out-work them.
Defensively, the Lakers have to control the tempo of the game, rebound, do a solid job defending the pick-and-roll play, get back in transition, and limit the amount of times that the Kings get out in transition. L.A. has to do a solid job of contesting shots, rotating out to open shooters and limiting the Kings to one shot per possession. The Lakers have to force the Kings to execute and score the majority of their points with their half-court offense.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, D.Ebanks, J. McRoberts, P.Gasol
Kings: J. Fredette, T. Evans, J. Salmons, C. Hayes, D. Cousins
Tip-off: 7:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Sacramento: Comcast Sportsnet (Grant Napear & Jerry Reynolds)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
- Sacramento: 1140 AM KHTK (Gary Gerould)
- Derrick Caracter (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Left Knee) Out
- Devin Ebanks (Sore Right Foot) Probable
- Kobe Bryant (Torn Lunotriquetral Ligament, Right Wrist) Will Play
- Andrew Bynum (Suspension, game 2 of 4)
- C Chuck Hayes (Chest) Day-to-Day
- SF John Salmons (Thigh) Day-to-Day
- PF Travis Outlaw (Broken Hand) Out