The injury bug that caused Lakers players to miss a league-high 319 games due to injury cannot seem to go away.
The Lakers reported on Friday that guard Nick Young will be out for 6-8 weeks after sustaining a torn ligament on his right thumb. The play occurred when Young attempted to steal the ball from Kobe Bryant during a scrimmage earlier in the day.
This is a rough start to the Lakers’ season preparations. Also lost was Ryan Kelly, who is dealing with a hamstring injury.
With Young out, the team loses their primary scorer off the bench. On the other hand, this is a strong chance for the other players to step into that role. All eyes will be on Wayne Ellington, Ronnie Price, and Jordan Clarkson as primary candidates to fill the void.
It remains to be seen if the Lakers will be a playoff contender this season, but if anything, it will surely be the best conditioned team in the league if day one of training camp is any indication.
On Tuesday, the Lakers held its first practice of the new season, getting a fresh start under new head coach Byron Scott, who gave the team a taste of what to expect under his watch.
“I want to be a great conditioned team. That’s the bottom line,” said Scott. “The thing that I told our guys, ‘We’re going to lose some games this year, but it’s not going to be because the other team is in better shape.”
Running was undoubtedly the word of the day as players went through conditioning drills throughout practice and finishing the day running suicides, leaving players, both veterans and rookies, bent over at the waist trying to catch their breath. At the very end, Nick Young tiredly took a seat under the basket, eventually asking rookie Jordan Clarkson to help him to his feet.
Kobe Bryant made his much anticipated return to the court, participating in an official practice for the first time since last December. According to Scott, Kobe went through three quarters of the practice before being asked to shut it down, despite Kobe’s wishes of wanting to continue.
“He wanted to go more, but right now it’s just a progression of going a little bit a day,” said Scott.
Despite Kobe sitting out the final 30 to 40 minutes of practice, the 36-year old admitted the running was more than he had experienced in his career.
“It’s probably the most running I’ve ever done in an NBA practice,” said Kobe. “Actually it is, for sure. I’ve never run this much.”
The good news for Lakers fans is despite the extra work, Kobe said he felt like himself and that the injuries are in the past. He understands that at an older age, he must monitor his activity level more closely in practice, in order to “have something left in the tank every single day.”
Defense was another focal point on the first day, which should not come as a surprise as Scott made it known in interviews that Lakers basketball must start on that end of the floor. The conditioning and defense are things that go hand in hand, according to Kobe.
“Running and conditioning, that’s the biggest part,” said Kobe. “Everybody wants to play defense, but when you’re not conditioned to play defense, you go back to your natural instinct which is to play offense first.”
On Wednesday, the Lakers will begin two-a-days which will include a scrimmage with game officials. Both Kobe and Steve Nash are expected to practice in the morning session, but not later in the day. Scott said Kobe would play in all eight preseason games, to get rid of the rust after playing in only six games last season.
The first preseason game will be Tuesday Oct. 6 in San Diego at Valley View Casino Center when they take on the Denver Nuggets.
The past season for the Los Angeles Lakers has been nothing short of disastrous. From injuries to firings, the purple and gold remained relatively irrelevant in the eyes of many. The absence of expectations from a team that missed their leader, Kobe Bryant, was something that the Laker fan base came to painfully accept.
With a return looming and Bryant entering his 19th season, the Lakers cannot expect to lean on Kobe alone to carry the team on his shoulders. Coming in with thousands of miles on a thirty-six year old body, that has endured numerous injuries, the Lakers would need to look to another player to carry them in a talented Western Conference. With Pau Gasol’s summer departure, there is no doubt that Nick Young aims to be the player that the Lakers would need to rely upon outside their 36-year old superstar.
After stints with the Wizards, Clippers and 76ers, Nick Young has steadily developed and proven to be a talented offensive player. With his ability to put up great scoring numbers, critics have praised Young for his offense. With that, after Bryant went down in April of 2013, the Lakers severely needed to get a player that could provide them the scoring production to compensate Bryant’s absence. Fortunately for them, they were able to sign Young to a one year contract. Nick Young went on to post career scoring numbers for the depleted Lakers team, averaging 17.9 ppg amidst the franchise’s struggles.
With a summer that led to a new contract, Nick Young will be looked upon to take the next step in his development and maturity as a player, both on and off the court. The return of Kobe Bryant will be the push that Young needs to further improve as an all around player, particularly on defense. This lack of defense, which teams exploited consistently, aims to be the top priority for Young moving forward. This is a work in progress as Bryant and Young have reportedly been working together during the offseason, as a sign of their developing relationship and chemistry.
Another aspect that Young aims to develop is his decision making. With Nick Young’s scoring talent, critics have been very particular with him specifically on his shot selection. Young is sometimes known to take questionable shots that can impact the system that a coach is trying to implement. Last year, isolation plays were too common for Young which proved problematic for the team. Byron Scott’s system can hopefully be the way for him to improve on this, as Scott did with Keith Van Horn during his New Jersey days. By utilizing his offensive gifts, taking the right shots to help the team will be a positive note for the Lakers in the long run.
With the right mindset and focus, Nick Young’s breakthrough may soon be nearer than we expect. Coupled with the right environment and system around him, there is a bright future for Lakers fans after a season of doubt and despair.
With training camp a week away, the Lakers continued to add depth to its roster with the signing of Wayne Ellington, the team announced Monday afternoon.
Ellington, played last season for the Dallas Mavericks, shooting career-highs from the field (.437) and three-point range (.424).
The former North Carolina Tar Heel was drafted 28th overall by the Timberwolves in 2009. After three seasons in Minnesota, Ellington made stops in Cleveland, Memphis, and finally Dallas. With career averages of 6.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists, Ellington provides flexibility at a position that features Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, and Xavier Henry.
The addition of Ellington puts the roster at 14. The team can take a maximum of 15 players once the season begins at the end of October. With one last roster spot available, depth at center and point guard are two positions of need but the Lakers could also choose to stay with 14, leaving room to sign a player during the season.
With one of the most forgettable seasons in franchise history behind them, the Los Angeles Lakers approach the upcoming NBA season with tremendous optimism and confidence. Stinging from an injury plagued 2013-14 campaign and a complete breakdown of trust within the team, the Lakers aim to return the supremacy of Hollywood back to the purple and gold. With Kobe Bryant returning this season, there is no reason why the team would not be able to make the playoffs come April.
As fans though, why should we believe them? Why should we trust in a team full of turmoil? Why should we believe that the team can still be successful despite the loss of a key piece of the 2009 and 2010 Championships?
The answer starts at the top. With critics around the league pointing the blame of the past season on Jim Buss, management has sought to make better decisions for the team moving forward. Still reeling from the loss of Dwight Howard and the failed Mike D’Antoni experiment, this summer has given everyone the indication that the Lakers are headed for a better year.
With the hiring of coach Byron Scott, the Lakers have brought in a man with extreme mental toughness and character. His dedication and work ethic, both on the offensive and defensive end, will certainly be a big factor moving forward. Adding to this, his relationship with Kobe Bryant will be important in determining the success that the team can ultimately gain. By understanding Bryant’s strengths and weaknesses, he may be able to maximize his skills to compliment his teammates. His veteran leadership and understanding of the Laker culture will help them gain an identity.
Secondly, one cannot deny the talent that the team will be bringing in for next season. Despite the losses of Pau Gasol, Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks, the team will still be competitive despite the lack of a superstar, outside of Bryant. Guys like Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis and Jeremy Lin will surely be productive and can be depended on for significant contributions. They will also have the services of rookies Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, which will surely bolster the Lakers’ attack. Once everyone gains an understanding of Scott’s system, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
That being said, the most important reason why the Lakers will be successful is pride. Each member of the team, from the coaching staff all the way to the last guy on the bench, knows how big of a deal it is to don the purple and gold. Players like Nick Young have expressed how proud they are of being able to wear the jersey of the franchise with the most wins in NBA history. With so much doubt from people around the league, the team will be playing with a chip on their shoulder to prove the world and naysayers wrong.
After a miserable 2013-14 season that led to an unusually long off-season, we finally have something to look forward to. Yesterday, the NBA released the 2014-2015 regular season schedule. After saying goodbye to Pau Gasol, Jordan Farmar, Jodie Meeks, and Chris Kaman (among others) the Lakers will begin the season with many fresh faces. Over the Summer, the Lakers added veterans Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, and Ed Davis along with rookies Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. They will join returning Lakers Xavier Henry, Jordan Hill, Wesley Johnson, Ryan Kelly, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre, and Nick Young. Oh, and I forgot, after only playing 6 games last season, Kobe Bryant will be hungry and healthy to start the season. A sight that Laker fans sorely missed.
With training camp just around the corner… Here is a preview of the 2014-2015 Lakers Regular Season Schedule:
In 1 of only 3 games on opening night, the Lakers will begin their season at home against Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets. After sitting out all but 6 games last season, this will mark the first time Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard face each other since Howard’s departure 2 summers ago. It will also mark the first time Jeremy Lin will face his former team after being traded this past summer to the Lakers. In 4 games last season, the Rockets took the season series from the Lakers 3-1. However, after losing key role players in Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons, and Omer Asik it remains to be seen how the Rockets will fare this season. After opening night, the Lakers and Rockets will meet again on Nov 19 (@HOU) and Jan 25 (@LAL).
CHRISTMAS IN CHICAGO:
December 25th wouldn’t be Christmas without a little Lakers basketball. However, we’ll have a change of scenery this Christmas when the Lakers play their first holiday game away from Staples since 2006, when they played against Shaquille O’Neal and the Miami Heat. This year, Kris Kringle reunites us with a familiar face when the Lakers go up against Pau Gasol and the Chicago Bulls. This will be the first time Gasol and Carlos Boozer face their former teams after swapping places this Summer. It will also be the first time the Lakers will meet Derrick Rose after sitting out almost 2 full seasons due to injury. The two teams will meet again on Jan 29 when Gasol makes his Staples Center return.
GRAMMY ROAD TRIP:
This season’s Grammy trip seems fairly tame compared to those in years past. In previous seasons, the Grammy trip has lasted as long as 7 games in 12 days. This season the Lakers will only visit 4 cities in a 9 day span. The trip will begin in New York when the Lakers face the Knicks for the first time on Feb 1. Then we head to Milwaukee (Feb 4), where Julius Randle and the #2 overall pick, Jabari Paker, will meet for the first time in the NBA. The trip continues in Orlando (Feb 6), where Randle will go up against another lottery pick, Aaron Gordon (#4 overall). The trip will conclude when the Lakers visit Coach Scott’s former team to take on LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, (Kevin Love? Andrew Wiggins?), and the Cavs in Cleveland on Feb 8.
Last season, the Grammy trip was a 7 game trip where the Lakers went 2-5. This season, being an unusually short trip with no back-to-backs, the Lakers should end the road trip with a winning record. I don’t see Milwaukee or Orlando being much of a threat and we all know how much Kobe loves playing in Madison Square Garden. I expect the Lakers to come away from the Grammy trip going 3-1.
This season, the Lakers will play a total of 16 pairs of B2B games. They’ll start the season right off the bat playing their first 4 games in 2 sets of home/away B2Bs against the Rockets/Suns and the Clippers/Warriors. The Lakers will be the visiting team for a majority of the games in these B2Bs. They will only play 8 of the 32 games at Staples (one will be an away game against the Clippers), all 8 occur on the first night of the B2B. And of course, as it seems to happen every season, the Lakers will play against the Denver Nuggets in the Mile High City on the second night of a B2B following a Clipper home game on April 8th. The Lakers seem to always struggle in this category, in 38 B2B games (19 pairs) last season, the Lakers ended with a record of 11-27, never winning a set of games. They’re going to need to turn that around this season if they expect to improve.
Fresh off the Donald Sterling fiasco, new Clipper owner, Steve Ballmer, and the rest of the Clipper team will almost certainly have some extra spark this season. Especially after newly appointed Lakers head coach (and former head coach of Clippers superstar Chris Paul), Byron Scott, declared that LA was still a Laker town. The Lakers will face the Clippers the usual 4 times (2 home, 2 away) this season, with the first match coming early in the season on Halloween night as a Laker home game. The remaining match-ups will take place on Jan. 7 (@LAC), Apr. 5 (@LAL), and Apr. 7 (@LAC).
After losing the season opener to the Lakers last season, the Clippers dismantled the Lakers by an average of 36 points in the remaining 3 contests and ended up taking the season series 3-1. The hallway series doesn’t get any easier for the Lakers this season after the Clippers added former Laker Jordan Farmar and Spencer Hawes to their depth chart.
A NEW STORY FOR AN OLD RIVALRY:
The Lakers/Celtics rivalry is a part of NBA history, even though it may not be as enticing these days as they were in the past, regardless if it’s for championships, regular season records, or lottery picks, there will always be a certain buzz surrounding a Lakers/Celtics match-up. This season’s match-ups could be the start of a new story when rookies Julius Randle and Marcus Smart take their places in this historic rivalry. Smart was taken by the Celtics with the 6th pick in the draft, one ahead of Randle. After being drafted, Randle said that he felt he should have been drafted higher. “The teams that passed on me will regret it” he said. Let’s hope he starts when the Lakers face the Celtics on Dec. 5 (@BOS) and Feb. 22 (@LAL).
NEW YORK, NEW YORK:
I wouldn’t normally consider a Lakers/Knicks game to be a “notable” game at the beginning of the season, but this year there are too many stories to ignore. Most of LA is still coping with the fact that Phil Jackson agreed to become the President of Basketball Operations for the Knicks last season, but this season we get the added bonus of seeing the team coached by Kobe’s longtime sidekick, Derek Fisher. Not to mention, there’s that Carmelo Anthony guy who turned down a max contract from the Lakers to re-sign with the Knicks this summer. We can watch all this drama unfold when the Lakers and Knicks faceoff on Feb 1 (@NYK) and Mar 12 (@LAL).
Also, the Brooklyn Nets will be in town to play the Lakers at Staples on Feb 20. Why do I consider this game “notable” you ask? It will be the Lakers first game after the Feb 19 NBA Trade Deadline. It’s never too early to speculate last minute trade deadline deals is it?
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES:
- The defending champion San Antonio Spurs will face the Lakers 3 times this season on Nov 14 (@LAL), Dec 12 (@SAS), and Jan 23 (@SAS).
- LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and the Cleveland Cavaliers will make their first trip to LA on Jan 15 and the Lakers will head to Cleveland as the last stop in the Grammy road trip on Feb 8 for their only 2 meetings of the season.
- Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will also face Kobe and the Lakers 3 times this season beginning on Dec 19 (@LAL), Mar 1(@LAL), and Mar 24 (@OKC).
- And finally, after all of that, the Lakers will conclude the 2014-2015 regular season with a home and home against the Sacramento Kings on Apr 13 (@SAC) and Apr 15 (@LAL).
It’s obviously too early to tell what kind of success, if any, the Lakers will have this season, but there are encouraging signs. Less back-to-backs than last season along with a shorter Grammy trip will benefit the health of our team. Also, an extended All-Star break will allow the team to rest up to make a push in the second half of the season. If Laker fans have learned anything from the past 2 seasons it’s that health will play a tremendous role in the success of this team. And with a healthy Kobe Bryant ready to start the season, we’re already a leg up over last year.
In what was an expected decision, guard Nick Young officially opted out of his final year with the Lakers and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
A fan favorite, “Swaggy P” was one of the positives in a season full of negatives for the Lakers. Young led the team with a career-high 17.9 points in 28.3 minutes a game for the purple and gold, providing a spark to an offense that was without Kobe Bryant for all but six games.
“We anticipated and expected that Nick would choose to become a free agent,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. “We very much appreciate his contributions to last season’s team, and we will hopefully be able to bring him back. However, he, his agent and the market will dictate his future direction.”
While Kupchak and the Lakers would love to bring Young back, his price tag will surely play a part in his future with the team. Earlier this month, Young noted that he would take a hometown discount to stay in Los Angeles:
“It depends how much the discount is,” Young said. “But as a player, everyone wants a place they feel comfortable at. I feel comfortable in L.A. But I can’t keep taking these discounts. I need a raise a little bit. But if it’s for the right cost and they’re bringing in players and I fit into the rotation, then I’ll probably take a pay cut.”
In his seven year career, the most Young has made per year is $5.6 million in 2012-2013 with the Philadelphia 76ers. It remains unknown what the market will be for former USC Trojan, but he will surely receive interest from many teams looking for a spark off the bench.
Young has a career average of 12.2 points but has shown the ability to go off for big nights. This past season, Young led the bench in scoring with 18.8 points and had two 40-point games.
April 16, 2014 — 5:00 PM (PST)
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
TV: ESPN / TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)
After a great effort to obtain a win on Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers will face off vs. San Antonio Spurs to close out this regular season.
G/F Nick Young led the way for the Lakers, scoring 41 points off the bench vs. Utah Jazz on Monday, carrying positive momentum into a game that does not bear any implications besides playing for pride.
Since the Spurs have clinched the top overall seed for the playoffs, expect Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich to limit the minutes of his core players if not rest all of them tonight.
PG – Tony Parker/ Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Spurs] SG – Danny Green / Jodie Meeks [Advantage: Spurs] SF – Kawhi Leonard / Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Spurs] PF – Tim Duncan / Ryan Kelly [Advantage: Spurs] C – Boris Diaw / Jordan Hill [Advantage: Lakers]
Notable Bench Players
Spurs: G Manu Ginobili, G Marco Bellinelli, C Tiago Splitter, PG Patrick Mills Lakers: C Robert Sacre, G Jordan Farmar, G Nick Young
Bench Advantage: Spurs
Spurs: None Lakers: Out-G Kent Bazemore, Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-C Pau Gasol, Out-C Chris Kaman, Out-G Xavier Henry
This will clearly be the final time Laker fans will see a Lakers roster look like this since drastic roster movements will most likely occur this off-season. Everyone except for C Robert Sacre who will be available for tonight’s match up might no longer be wearing Laker uniforms this summer. Therefore, I expect the Laker players to play with maximum effort since this will be the final audition to not only Lakers management, but general managers of the rest of the NBA teams.
The Los Angeles Lakers are set to take on the Sacramento Kings tonight with a current record of 25-49. While defeating the Kings is the primary focus of tonight, Bleacher Report columnist Kevin Ding certainly made headlines with his comments on Mike D’Antoni‘s future with the Lakers. In the column, Ding reported how D’Antoni may be around longer than most anticipate:
“D’Antoni has one more guaranteed season left on his Lakers contract, and the club is leaning toward retaining him despite some privately disgruntled players and massive public disdain. It’s not clear which way the organization will go with him.”
Financially the decision to retain D’Antoni makes sense. Going back to the 2012-2013 season, the Lakers made a huge financial commitment after firing head coach Mike Brown and consequently hiring D’Antoni days later. Until the Cavaliers signed Brown, the Lakers were due to pay the remaining salary on his contract while paying D’Antoni his salary in his three-year $12 million dollar deal. Add in the new $48 million dollar deal Kobe Bryant also signed and you can see why finances are key in this situation.
With this Lakers team being one of the few in history to not make the playoffs and have players speak out publicly about not retaining D’Antoni for next season, this could turn into a huge fault for the organization. Media, fans, and players alike have spoken out repeatedly about how a change in coaching needs to be made moving forward. Bringing D’Antoni back for another season would not only derail morale for the team but make a statement to potential free agents that seven seconds or less will lead the way in the team’s future.
The Lakers will soon need to make an official stand on D’Antoni’s future in regards to next season and potentially his fourth season as head coach. Luring free agents to Los Angeles will become increasingly difficult if they believe that not only the role players on the team are disgruntled, but star players like Bryant and Pau Gasol are too. Moving on is always something difficult to do, but in some situations it is a necessary part of life. If the Lakers are serious about reclaiming their position as one of the top franchises in the league then it is something they will have to do.
Stay tuned to LakerNation.com for more Los Angeles Lakers news and updates!
After a tough loss vs. the Trail Blazers, the Lakers (25-49) make a very quick trip to the state capital to face off vs. Sacramento Kings (26-48).
In last night’s loss, F Nick Young came off the bench red hot, shooting 8-8 from the field to start, ending up scoring a season-high 40 points when the game was all set and done. Despite Young’s contribution, the Lakers lacked the defensive intensity necessary to hold off the Trail Blazers.
Tonight, Young and the rest of the Lakers will have to play with much better effort on the defensive end to have a chance of winning tonight. Fortunately, the Kings do not share the ball well, averaging only 18.9 APG as a team, which is the worst in the NBA.
PG Steve Nash will likely not play tonight. Despite playing very well, scoring 10 points and dishing out 10 assists while playing limited minutes, Nash injured his ankle and reaggravated his back injury that he has been fighting for a long period of time.
Kings’ C DeMarcus Cousins comes into tonight’s game averaging a career high in points and rebounds, averaging a double-double 22.3 PPG and 11.7 RPG. Many consider Cousins to possess one of the best low-post games in the NBA. Now that he has the individual skills to become an all-star, Cousins now has to become a vocal team leader and help create a team chemistry necessary to lead the Kings back into the playoffs moving forward.
PG - Kendall Marshall / Isaiah Thomas [Advantage: Kings]
SG - Jodie Meeks / Ben McLemore [Advantage: Lakers]
SF - Kent Bazemore / Rudy Gay[Advantage: Kings]
PF - Jordan Hill / Jason Thompson[Advantage: Even]
C - Chris Kaman/ DeMarcus Cousins[Advantage: Kings]
Notable Bench Players
Kings: PGRay McCallum, F Reggie Evans, F Derrick Williams
Lakers: PG Xavier Henry, F Nick Young,F Jordan Hill, F Ryan Kelly
Bench Advantage: Lakers
Kings: Out-G Jason Terry, Out-F Carl Landry, GTD-PG Isaiah Thomas
Lakers: Out-C Pau Gasol, GTD-C Chris Kaman, Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Jordan Farmar, Doubtful-PG Steve Nash, GTD-G Xavier Henry
Despite playing for the 2nd night in a row, the Lakers should stay competitive vs. Kings. Theoretically, many Lakers fans might possess uncertainty on whether or not they want the Lakers to win tonight. the Kings currently are 1 game ahead of the Lakers, which means the Lakers will have a higher possibility of winning the lottery if season ended today. Regardless, the Kings are still our rivals stemming from the early 2000′s era and any victory vs. Kings will be pleasant.
If the Lakers can cut off the passing lanes on the defensive end and play with a lot of energy, they should come away with a victory tonight.
Last night’s game truly defines the Lakers‘ (24-47) season. They could come up with an unexpected victory against the Knicks, playing the best they can, and then immediately come right back and have an ugly loss. After blowing out the Knicks on Tuesday, the Lakers lost vs. Milwaukee Bucks Thursday, by far the worst NBA team this season.
Now, the Lakers seek to get back to its winning ways by facing off vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (35-35). Based on the last 2 games, it seems like the Lakers will rely heavily on F Jordan Hill and F Nick Young. Hill had a monster game despite the loss, scoring 27 points and grabbing 16 rebounds, and actually had a double-double by the end of the first half.
Meanwhile, Young continues to bring spark off the bench, contributing 17 more points last night. Young brings an asset to the Lakers that they have been lacking throughout the month of February; a guard who can create his own shots at any point of the game.
Despite heading into another playoff-less season, Timberwolves’ PF Kevin Love still dominates his position this season. Love has turned into an NBA star, scoring 26.3 PPG and averaging 12.3 RPG this season. Love has tremendous footwork in the post, a skill he has nearly mastered throughout his NBA career while possessing the ability to shoot behind the three-point line, shooting 38.2%.
PG – Ricky Rubio / Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Timberwolves] SG – Kevin Martin / Jodie Meeks [Advantage: Even] SF – Corey Brewer / Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Even] PF – Kevin Love / Jordan Hill [Advantage: Timberwolves] C – Gorgui Dieng / Chris Kaman [Advantage: Even]
Notable Bench Players
Timberwolves: F Luc Richard M’Bah Moute, G Alexei Shved, F Dante Cunningham, G JJ Barea Lakers: PG Steve Nash, F Nick Young, C Robert Sacre, G Xavier Henry, G Kent Bazemore
Bench Advantage: Even
Timberwolves: Out-C Nickola Pekovic, Out-F Ronny Turiaf, Out-G AJ Price Lakers: Out-C Pau Gasol,Out-PG Jordan Farmar, Out-G Kobe Bryant
Fans never know which Laker product they will get at any given moment; the one that destroyed the Knicks, or the one who lost vs. Bucks. Tonight, the Lakers are playing for 2 consecutive nights on the road, so fatigue will most likely set in for tonight’s matchup. The first quarter will most likely dictate how the Lakers will play tonight.
March 23, 2014 — 6:30 PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)
In what could become the worst season in Lakers history, the Lakers will try to gain a victory tonight vs. Orlando Magic (11-32) in a dual between the two teams which lost C Dwight Howard. Both teams will be in the upper echelon of the upcoming NBA draft as they have two of the worst records in NBA this season.
The Lakers, who suffered another loss vs. Wizards on Friday, got solid contributions from a few returnees from injuries. F Nick Young returned from injury to score 21 points, leading the team in that category with SG Jodie Meeks. PG Steve Nash dropped 11 assists despite only playing in 18 minutes, while F Jordan Hill looked excellent. Although Hill was ejected for getting involved in a scuffle with Wizards C Drew Gooden, he still managed to grab 14 rebounds and be a spark plug off the bench.
Former UCLA Bruin G Aaron Afflalo leads these young group of Magic players, scoring 19.3 PPG, grabbing 3.9 RPG, and dishing out 3.5 APG. He has a very solid all around game, playing both ends of the floor well, and seeks to be one of the key players that will stay on the Magic roster after they finish rebuilding their team.
PG - Kendall Marshall / Victor Oladipo [Advantage: Magic]
SG - Jodie Meeks / Aaron Afflalo [Advantage: Magic]
SF - Wesley Johnson / Mo Harkless[Advantage: Even]
PF - Pau Gasol /Nikola Vucevic [Advantage: Lakers]
C - Robert Sacre / Kyle O’Quinn[Advantage: Lakers]
Notable Bench Players
Magic: F Tobias Harris, G Doron Lamb, G Ronnie Price, C DeWayne Dedmon
Lakers: G Nick Young, PG Steve Nash, F Jordan Hill, G Kent Bazemore
Hard to believe the Lakers finally can match-up vs a team with as bad of a record as the Lakers over the last month. However, the Lakers received help from Hill, Young, and Nash’s return, hoping they can help salvage their season as it winds down the homestretch. The match up actually favors the Lakers tonight, so they should be able to come away with a victory tonight.
March 21, 2014 — 7:30 PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)
Stuck in a mud of another losing streak, the Lakers seek to snap their 3-game losing streak tonight as they face off vs. Washington Wizards. After competing hard vs. Spurs on Wednesday night, the Lakers simply ran out of gas, suffering a 109-125 loss.
However, help is on its way for the Lakers at least for tonight. PG Steve Nash, F Nick Young, and F Jordan Hill, will all return tonight after they were recovering from their various injuries. Nash, who has not played in 5 weeks from nagging nerve issues, will come off the bench tonight and be on a minutes restriction, according to Head Coach Mike D’Antoni.
Young, who was one of front-runners to win the 6th man award this season before suffering a knee injury, seek to jump start the Lakers who have not won consistently since December. However, F Wesley Johnson will sit out tonight’s game due to illness
Meanwhile, the Wizards seek their first playoff appearance since the 2007-2008 season, seem to be on their way after years of rebuilding and developing their roster. All-Star PG John Wall has stepped up as the team leader, scoring a career high 19.8 PPG and dishing out a career high 8.8 APG. Wall has tremendous athleticism and seems to have controlled it very well this season, becoming a much efficient player.
However, the Wizards might will be without their top 2 post players tonight. Former Nuggets C Nene will be out tonight trying to recover from a Sprained MCL he suffered last month, while C Marcin Gortat is currently a game time decision due to back issues.
PG – John Wall/ Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Wizards] SG – Bradley Beal / Jodie Meeks [Advantage: Wizards] SF – Trevor Ariza / Kent Bazemore [Advantage: Wizards] PF – Trevor Booker / Ryan Kelly [Advantage: Even] C – Kevin Seraphin / Pau Gasol [Advantage: Lakers]
Notable Bench Players
Wizards: F Martell Webster, G Andre Miller, C Drew Gooden, F Chris Singleton Lakers: PG STEVE NASH, G Nick Young, C Robert Sacre, G Xavier Henry
Bench Advantage: Wizards
Wizards: Out-C Nene, Out-F Glen Rice Jr, GTD-C Marcin Gortat Lakers: Out-F Wesley Johnson, Out-PG Jordan Farmar, Out-G Kobe Bryant, Probable-F Jordan Hill, Probable-F Nick Young, Will Play-PGSteve Nash,
With uncertainties existing for the Wizards front-court rotation, the Lakers have to utilize C Pau Gasol throughout the entire game. The Wizards currently have nobody who could match-up well with Gasol, so the Lakers best chance to win will be to run their offense through him. The Lakers actually match-up decently vs. the Wizards back-court so they can definitely come away with a win tonight if they stay focused.