So I’m trying something new for this preview, linking the names of the “Marquee Matchupees” to their Yahoo Profile. Hopefully this will allow us fans to get a better idea of what to expect from each player. Also, a fun little thing that the Yahoo has is the “Next Game” statistical analysis. It gives the stats from the last game against the next opponent, their career stats against that team, the home or away stats for the player in the current season, and the players stats in games that come after X number of days of rest.
I understand that not everyone likes stats and that they don’t tell the whole story. For example, according to the stats Rafer Alston is a terrible, terrible shooter- but they are an indicator of performance and all Lakers fans should be at least somewhat literate in them.
Marquee Matchups -
Point Guard – Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar vs. Jason Kidd: Speaking of stats, here’s a guy who makes it his business to stuff the envelope titled box score. Since the last time the two teams met, Kidd’s production has only gone down slightly. He’s averaging about two less points and rebounds, but his scoring efficiency has gone way up. The good news for Derek Fisher is that he should be able to stay in front of him in the half court, the bad news is that these Mavericks are running more.
Even wearing Lakers shades, but this is one tough match up.
Shooting Guard – Kobe Bryant vs. Jerry Stackhouse: As already noted on the Lakers Nation, Kobe put the extra time in to tweak his shot. If only the refs would put the extra time in the film room and realize that he regularly gets hacked and doesn’t always get the calls.
Small Forward – Vlad Rad vs. Josh Howard: As always with Vlad Rad (and all shooters) he needs to be shooting 50% of his three’s to be effective out there, and he hasn’t done that in a while. Howard, on the other hand, is such a diverse talent that he should comfortably win this match up.
Power Forward – Lamar Odom vs. Dirk Nowitzki: Lamar had to ask for more touches? With Gasol out we should be force feeding him. He had a solid game against the Rockets and hopefully this is the occasion that he steps up successfully to being a second scorer. As he showed in the previous game, Lamar has the length and the speed to guard Dirk on the floor and is versatile enough to take advantage of Dirk’s tepid defense on the other.
Center – Ronny Turiaf vs. Erick Dampier: As I have stated before, I think Turiaf has been underutilized this season and I really hope Kobe learned from the last game and tries to set up Turiaf more. However, he needs to stay on the court to be effective, and fouling out in just 29 minutes of action as he did in the previous game is not going to get it done. Hopefully, Dampier’s utter lack of any kind of original offensive threat will enable him to play without foul trouble
Bass is solid for them, Jason Terry can get hot, and Devean George is always fun to watch when he’s not playing for the Lakers. What scares me about their bench? Tyronn Lue. It seems that every time we play his team he leads a comeback by sinking threes and making plays for teammates. He was instrumental to Atlanta’s victory against us and I just do not enjoy watching him play against us.
On the Lakers end, the “Faster bench mob” has been lacking in the luster department. Although to be fair they’ve lost Turiaf to the starting lineup, the quartet of Luke, Sasha, Farmer, and Mbenga should be playing better than they are currently
Lets play coach!
Key Match Up -
Lamar Odom vs. Dirk Nowitzki: Another example of of stats being misleading. If you look at the box score from the last meeting between us it appears that Dirk owned Lamar. To a certain extent that is true, Dirk scored 30 to Odom’s 6, but Odom played great defense on Dirk all night long. When he has that fade away jump shot working, nobody can stop Dirk, but Lamar did, and should do, a good job contesting them and also cut off his drives into the paint very well.
Everything Else: It’s really up to Kobe. If he “takes what the defense gives him” then the Lakers should do fine. If he wants to give the NBA enough poster material to do an entire series of “The NBA: Where Kobe Happens,” then we’re at the mercy of his jump shot and the whistle of the refs, and neither one obliged for us in Houston.
Statistical Predictions -
Feel free to copy and past this part into the comments section with your own predictions. I don’t promise to keep track of winners or anything but it’s always fun to predict stuff.
20+ Points: Kobe, Lamar, and Sasha.
10+ Rebounds: Turiaf, Lamar, and Kobe.
3+ Blocks: Turiaf, Kobe.
Closest To A Triple-Double: Kobe.
Out On A Limb: Coby Karl will posterize Jason Kidd on a fast break dunk (kind of like this).
Game Information -
Radio: KLAC & KWKW
Burning Questions/Sage Answers -
What is going on with all these ankles?
How will Kobe respond to his previous performance?
Next season, do we need Mihm now that we have Gasol? And if not do you have any ideas as how to turn him into something useful? (my idea would be to send him to Chicago for their draft pick this year, either before or after the draft) and another future pick.