From the mouth of the horse (credit kingme18 at Sactown Royalty):
“Lakers-Kings not enticing anymore: I said I was a bad Kings fan this year. Well I’m starting to feel down right naughty now. I don’t care if the Kings beat the Lakers anymore this year. In fact, I rather the Kings play the young guys and lose than to see some veterans play out the season in a half-hearted manner and probably still lose.
The NBA Lottery: Where fans turning against their favorite team happens. “
Marquee Matchups -
Note: The only difference from last game is Vlad Rad vs. Salmons, so apologies if the matchup analysis gives you a sense of deja-vu.
Point Guard – Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar vs. Beno Udrih: Although he has an all-around game and can stroke it from the outside, Beno Udrih isn’t the fastest player in the League by any stretch and doesn’t really stand out in any particular way, except that he’s left-handed. This should make it easier for Fisher and Farmar to stay in front of him throughout the game. Last game they both did a reasonable job of containing him, and I don’t expect anything different today.
Advantage: Lakers, but only if they make shots!
Shooting Guard – Kobe Bryant vs. Kevin Martin: Kevin Martin is another player who can shoot from long range but also excels at taking it to the rack and is one of the genuine success stories in the NBA. However, comparing him to Kobe Bryant is like comparing the lighting in the stands to the lighting on the court of a Lakers home game. Another point in the laker’s favour is that, with Artest likely out, Martin has to guard Kobe for the whole game
Look for him to be demoralized and (hopefully) in foul trouble most of the game.
Small Forward – Vlad Rad vs. John Salmons: The best two-way talent in the league, former DPOY, lovable headcase — All these describe Ron Artest. Now add currently injured to the list. His backup is no slouch, Salmons is very good in the open court and has good shooting range, but we have Vlad Rad on our side. I don’t know if people have noticed, but the one person who you will see consistently getting back on defense in transition -sometimes the only one, apart from Kobe- is Vladdy. I have lost count of the number of posters Vladdy has risked being in to try and stop a 2-1 or even 3-1 break. It’s my theory that the Lakers play better transition D with Vladdy in the lineup, but I have no statistical or empirical evidence to back this up.
Oh, and Vlad is money from behind the arc. As much as I have “talked up” Walton in my preview, (and in my defense the dude was starting to play consistently decent basketball) I would much rather have Vlad Rad on the floor.
Power Forward – Lamar Odom vs. Mikki Moore: Possibly the second easiest match up out of the starting five. No offense to Moore (I followed him last year with the Nets and he has a good outside stroke to go with his hustle based inside game — A veteran Turiaf if you will) but he is too scrawny to handle Odom down-low on defense and his offensive post game lacks any sort of finesse whatsoever. He worked well in NJ because he had Kidd setting him up for easy looks and ally-oops, and he doesn’t get quite the same service now.
Center – Pau Gasol vs. Brad Miller: Two 7-footers who can shoot out to the 3-point line, are excellent passers and arn’t famous for their defense. Last game showed that Gasol has the speed advantage, but they still match up well together in pretty much any other comparison. Based on the previous game I expect Gasol to win this one.
From The Last Preview: “Our bench trio is in an offensive funk right now … The good news is that the defense is still there and these are hustle players, and sooner or later hustle is rewarded.”
Against the Clippers, the bench trio finally made an impact, finally got the reward for the effort. Hopefully, the effort remains the same.
The Sacramento bench is not worth mentioning.
Key Matchups -
Kobe vs. Kevin Martin: Kobe was great for the last six minutes of the previous meeting, and that’s ok if he’s trying to go for the Arco Arena points record. (currently 48 in regulation) But to be honest, I’d much rather he aim for not having to play in the fourth quarter at all
If this seems like a trivial key match up, it is. I really expect an easy game today.
Statistical Predictions -
The ONE game that Turiaf goes off for 5 blocks and I don’t predict it, Jerk.
20+ Points: Kobe, Gasol, and Lamar.
10+ Rebounds: Gasol, Lamar, and Turiaf.
2+ Blocks: Kobe, Gasol, Turiaf.
Closest To A Triple-Double: Lamar.
Out On A Limb: Coby Karl gets at least 4 minutes.
Game Information -
Radio: KLAC & KWKW
Television: FSW & CSNW
Online: NBA LP
Burning Questions/Sage Answers -
How many minutes does Coby get?
How many points are we going to win by?
How on earth can we get rid of Luke Walton’s contract? <—- I’m curious about that one.
Do we as Lakers fans want the Spurs or the Suns to win today’s matchup? <——- this one too.