The Lakers remain in the state of Texas, for the finale of their three-game road trip. They’ve made the three hour ride to San Antonio to be the first part of a NBA on TNT doubleheader. Prior to making the trip; the Lakers ended their three game road skid and the Rockets 12-game winning streak by beating them 102-96 in Houston.
Kobe led his team scoring 37 points and his 18 fourth quarter points sealed the deal but the Lakers got an excellent performance from Josh Powell who scored 17 points and grabbed 9 boards. The biggest factor in the win was their defense; the Lakers forced the Rockets into a season-high 23 turnovers.
After taking down one of the hottest teams in the conference on Wednesday the Lakers now face the challenge of playing the Spurs, another hot team, which ranks as the second best team in the Western Conference.
The Lakers suffered a one point loss to the Spurs on 1/14 in a game the team should’ve won. The Spurs enjoyed a phenomenal three point shooting night and a few lucky breaks along the way. The fact of the matter is the difference between winning and losing for these two teams comes down to offensive execution and defense.
There will be several adjustments for this game defensively. The Lakers need to start early and come out aggressively on both ends of the court with a contribution from everyone and take an early lead, this will take the crowd out of the game. The reserves need to have an impact on the game.
The Lakers will have to slow Tim Duncan & Tony Parker, two competitors that always come to play. Limit Tony Parker’s foray’s into the painted area. Normally when these teams meet it is about which trio plays better, the Spurs will be without Manu Ginobli for this game but in the last game in San Antonio Matt Bonner & Roger Mason, who hit the eventual game winning shot, were huge factors.
DJ Mbenga & Josh Powell provided excellent defense and rebounding on Wednesday and a repeat performance in the final match-up of the regular season. The Lakers can win by running their offense from the inside out. The team is playing to their advantage by establishing Pau in the post and letting him set the table for everyone else.
I’m looking forward to seeing excellent player movement and ball movement.
Lamar Odom can make an impact by coming out aggressive and attacking the basket. The Lakers will have to control the tempo, the glass, stop the dribble penetration, get back in transition and rotate out to three point shooters.
Defensively is where the game will be won or lost.
Tipoff: 5:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: TNT
- San Antonio: TNT
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- San Antonio: WOAI 1200 AM (Bill Schoening)
- Andrew Bynum (Knee)
- Manu Ginobli (Ankle)