Your Los Angeles Lakers are in Chicago to face the Bulls tonight. The Lakers have begun a 7-game 12-day road trip which will see them travel 8500 miles. The Lakers completed a 6-game road trip earlier in the year undefeated that included wins in Cleveland and Boston, no small task, but the Lakers need a repeat performance on this trip.
The Lakers possess the NBA’s best road record at 23-9. This road trip doesn’t have the Cavaliers or the Celtics on the schedule but the Lakers need to go into every game with the mindset that the two previous teams mentioned are the opponent. Whoever the Lakers play that team finds a way to get up for them and play their best game and it is way past the time for the Lakers to do the same.
Coach Phil Jackson and staff will see some several familiar faces in his return to the city he helped bring six titles. Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games. The Lakers beat the Bulls at home on 11/16/2008; Kobe had a solid all around game, as usual, 21 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. The Bulls couldn’t stop Pau Gasol who scored 34 points, 24 of which came in the second half of the game.
Due to a trade that brought veterans John Salmons & Brad Miller to Chicago, this is a different Bulls team than the one the Lakers faced earlier in the year. Bulls guard Derrick Rose played well in the first game against the Lakers with 25 points and 9 assists.
Slowing him down will be group effort but Derrick Fisher will start out on him with Kobe and Trevor assisting. I also want to see Shannon Brown spend some time defending him. The Lakers have lost too many big leads by losing focus this needs to stop.
The Lakers are playing to their advantage by establishing Pau Gasol in the post. I’m looking for them to displaying excellent ball movement and player movement and outworking the Bulls.
The Lakers need to control the tempo, glass, stop the dribble penetration, get back in transition and rotate out to three point shooters. The Lakers need to limit the Bulls to one shot per possession.
I want to see more of Kobe in the low post. Lamar needs to catch the ball closer to the basket and attack the rim. The Lakers need to work on re-establishing that killer instinct and put teams away. The Lakers have lost too leads in games this needs to stop.
Defensively is where this game will be won or lost.
Tipoff: 6:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL TV Channel 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lanz)
- Chicago: WGN (Neil Funk & Stacy King)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Chicago: WMVP1000 AM (Chuck Swirsky & Bill Wennington)
- Andrew Bynum (Knee)
- Luol Deng (Shin)