The 31-8 Lakers are back at the Staples Center tonight hosting the 31-7 Cleveland Cavaliers in celebration of MLK day.
This is a huge match up that will be billed as Kobe vs. LeBron or a match up of the reigning league MVP and the early choice of many to win this years MVP trophy; but being specific it is a ‘must win’ game for the Lakers, who need to snap a two game losing streak.
Kobe Bryant put together a triple double against the Orlando Magic on Friday but the Lakers lost. The Lakers will need a similar performance out of Kobe tonight and I guarantee that Kobe will deliver but will he receive enough help?
After a close loss, you always want to know what you could’ve done better to change the outcome. When you notice that you lost by six points, the reality sets in that you missed seven free throws, had no fast break points, you were 9-of-26 in 3-point shooting and most importantly… were outscored in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers need to let that game go, forget about it and place their focus on the Cavaliers. Cleveland is winning, playing good ball as a team and just like the Lakers with Kobe the Cavaliers feed off of what LeBron James does.
LeBron is surrounded by his best supporting cast since he’s been there. A top defensive team & according to Stats Inc., the Cavaliers are first in the association in field goal defense (41.9 percent) and scoring defense (89.0 points per game).
LeBron in the low post is a match up nightmare as oppose to being on the perimeter. Slowing him down will be a team effort but Kobe will be matched up with him at times, joined by Trevor Ariza. I would like to see Josh Powell on him in the interest of forcing him to attack from the perimeter and not in the low post. I want to see more of Kobe in the low post.
The task of slowing Point Guard Mo Williams, limiting the drive and kick opportunities will initially be on Derek Fisher but also a team effort. The Lakers need to throw the ball into the low post and allow Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol to go to work.
The Lakers need to be sharp defensively tonight. The team has an advantage with their long front line and will win by controlling the tempo, glass, stopping dribble penetration and rotating out to three point shooters.
Tipoff: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: TNT
- Cleveland: FS Ohio HD (Fred McLeod & Austin Carr)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Cleveland: WTAM 1100 Newsradio Cleveland (Joe Tait & Mike Snyder)
- Jordan Farmar (Knee)
- Delonte West (Wrist)