Today, if the Spurs and the Hornets lose, and the Lakers win, then the Lakers stand a chance to do what it should have done against the Bobcats… be the first in the West to win 50 games.
I see the Hornets losing the the Celtics, but not so much the Spurs to the Timberwolves.
Marquee Match Ups -
Point Guards -
Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar vs Mike Conley -
Analysis: as much as Conley is a top draw talent, he just doesn’t impose his will enough on the game at this point for us to be concerned. He’ll consistently get his 8 points and 4 assists but has not shown that he is willing to shoot his team back into contention nor that he able to find teammates with passes to compensate for the times that his shot is off. He has loads of potential, but Fisher’s experience should prove vital.
Prediction: No Advantage.
Shooting Guards- Kobe Bryant vs. Mike Miller -
Analysis: Kobe is banged up and has been shooting pretty poorly over the last three games, and even though he is a great individual defender he has trouble with players like Rip Hamilton or Mike Miller who come off a lot of screens for a jumper. Miller can get hot from the outside but can also get a little shot happy from beyond the arc as well. I expect Kobe to be much more focused tonight and hopefully have a good shooting night.
Small Forwards -
Vlad Rad vs. Rudy Gay -
Analysis: An absolutely brutal match up for us. To be honest, apart from Kobe, and perhaps Ira Newble, the Lakers don’t really have anyone who can match up defensively on him -at the very least we know that Vladdy just won’t cut it. Phil might get creative and put Vladdy on Milicic or Warrick and switch Odom on to him, but this is not a match up that I see the Lakers winning, unless Vladdy goes off from the 3-point line.
Power Forwards -
Lamar Odom vs. Hakim Warrick -
Analysis: I had Warrick on my fantasy team early this year because I really felt he was going to break out. I had to drop him after the first month because he just wasn’t getting any minutes but now, four months later, I’m wishing I’d held on to him because he’s finally seemed to hive turned the corner. Whilst he should be no match for Lamar he is one to watch in that he has the ability to hit the offensive glass very well (He got 3 against us last time in only 22 minutes).
Ronny Turiaf vs. Darko Milicic -
Analysis: Yeah Ronny! Finally, he can go up against a bigger slower player who really doesn’t have an offensive game. Better yet, Darko shoots a woeful (51%) percentage from the line, so even if Ronny gets in foul trouble guarding him, the Lakers won’t suffer much for it. To top it off though, Darko likes to go for the block, so if Ronny reacts well and the drives are looking for him, he should be able to make a lunch of easy dunks and put-backs.
Statistical Predictions -
20+ Points: Kobe, Lamar, Ronny.
10+ Rebounds: Lamar, Ronny.
7+ Assists: Kobe, Luke.
3+ 3-pointers: Fish, Vladdy.
Closest To Triple-Double: Lamar.
Out On A Limb: J-Critt throws a perfect lob to Kwame for the bricked dunk, Kobe gets the rebound and throws a half-court lob to none other than a wide open Luke Walton, who misses the lay up. (its called God blocking your shot)
Game Information -
Radio: KLAC, KWKW