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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

Television

  • Los Angeles: TNT
  • Cleveland: FS Ohio HD (Fred McLeod & Austin Carr)

Radio

  • Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Cleveland: WTAM 1100 Newsradio Cleveland (Joe Tait & Mike Snyder)

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Jordan Farmar (Knee)

Cavaliers:

  • Delonte West (Wrist)
  • JFK-analysis-at-TLN

    haha.. KOBE
    haha. LA

    haha WINNNNNNNNNNNNNN

  • Mihailicious

    first

  • Paul

    Lets go lets go….

  • LakersFirst

    The Lakers need this game more than the Cavs do. This is a major game for the Lakers. The Lakers are coming off of losses to major teams (i.e. San Antonio and Orlando and even New Orleans). If the Lakers lose this game tonight, then the thoughts and questions of “Can the Lakers beat the stronger teams in the League” will come about. The Lakers can beat the Cavs, but they have to prove it to the league and themselves (remember, the Lakers haven’t beat the Cavs since January 12, 2006).

  • bernzter

    I think the biggest problem at the moment for the Lakers is that with our lengthy frontline, we are still struggling with rebounds? Like c’mon! When Houston Rockets sported the twin towers in the 80’s (Sampson and Olyjuwon) they dominated and I mean dominated in the paint… How come we don’t have that capacity to do it? It gets frustrating, since we ‘boast’ the most talented lineup in the league…

  • e

    mo williams will have a big game bcuz fisher cant play defense

  • 24kar33m24

    i say the lakers just isolate lebron james and let him shoot jump shots…the guy is only shooting 41% jump shots and 72% inside the paint…so i say they just sag off of him and let ariza go to work on lebron…also the lakers need to stick on their guys… im sick of them giving wide open threes to the other team

  • bernzter

    true that… they need to close off on the penetration and then rotate off the kickouts…

    I just wish that they learn their lesson… Every team uses the same play against them… and they still can’t find the solution… GRRRRRR…

  • T-Dub

    If the Lakers get pushed aroung tonight and lose, I think it’s safe to say Mitch better make another move, to get tougher!

  • Lakeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerz

    Mo Williams will tear fisher apart

  • ICE CREAM MAN

    Guys lay off fisher. He is old I mean he is a first half point guard but because of his age and minutes, he fades in the second half. We need a young point guard….Maurbury. At least young enough to score in the paint and go toe to toe with the points in the league.

  • bernzter

    How I wish we had a Farmar for games like tonight.. but then again he needs to wisen up when he gets back in the court… No more cheapish fouls and no more ill advised shots… He got game.. he just needs to harness it to the fullest…

  • Kobe Forever

    The Lakers will win if they don’t leave the 3 point shooters. Also they need to make LeBron James take jump shots.
    Lakers 96 Cavaliers 90

  • whats up with pescado

    as long as we have fisher playing pg we will lose to the stronger teams, fisher can’t guard a soul to save his life. i cring everytime the opposing team runs the pick and roll or the high screen because it means a for sure score for the other team. i so badly want to cuz here. i’m so mad

  • Darrell

    I respect Lebron..He’s great, but Kobe’s at a much different level. Comparing their stats doesn’t do it’s justice. Kobe can get 40, 50, 60 + points a night, he can get 25 rebounds and all the assist he wants to get because he is a great passer with awesome vision. He doesn’t need to do all that with this team and had other cast members in the past where he had to do what he did then.. he plays on a different team than lebron and they’ve both always have been in different roles with their teams.. lebron doesnt have two 7 footers getting rebounds and all the scoring weapons Kobe has around his team.. Their roles require different games from both of them and I think Kobe balances it out perfectly… win or loose games… he’s the smartest player in the league and is mature enough to suck it up like a man and know that ariza and his cast are going to have that much more confidence come playoffs and finals bc he gave them the opportunities and prepared them for when it counts. He knows what he’s doing and is the MVP.. why does he need to grab 15 rebounds a game when he has two 7 footers.. save those legs Kobe, you don’t need that stat… why does he have to lead the scorers to be considered number one in MVP votes…we all know he is The Expert at scoring and can do it at any time… save those shots Kobe and keep developing your team… why does he have to have all those assist.. everyone is passing the ball… it’s a triangle… He’s the master at the game and is the Best.. MVP all around… Best in the World… He can fill up the stat sheet anytime he wants, but he balances the game, the season, his career.. he wants the Ring.. and sees the big picture that everyone else doesn’t look at.. he has three rings and is ready to get… wut 7 more… Keep doing what you are doing Kobe.. Balance it out and be patient.. feel the game out and get those championships.. the ultimate Basketball player.. Kobe Bryant.. someone who can do it all, but decides when and does exactly what he has to do to get his team Ready

  • daboss1848

    Lakers win tonight and bynum plays huge!!!

  • Linktu.com

    This is going to be a great game. i want to see if Kobe can contain Lebron.

  • Razor Ramon

    Lets go lakers, da da da-da-da, Lets go lakers

  • vibe

    Z is out BTW.

  • bernzter

    I wonder if the game would change dramatically if we had Starbury (that is if NY buys his contract out and he plays the Veteran’s minimum and decides to play with the Lakers)?

    Hmmmmm…. And double Hmmmmm…

  • Logic Guy

    What is that Darrel guy smoking? It has to be illegal. Kobe can not pass. That is the weakest part of his game. Look at his turnovers, lack of assists for a ball handler and the skills game performance a couple of years ago. EXPOSED. In Kobe’s defense, he is stuck with two seven footers that won’t fight for rebounding position. Bynum has the physical skills but he is as lazy as a dog with fleas.____ I see that Fluke will play tonight. That will hurt. If Phil insists on playing Walton, it should be at POINTGUARD. Take advantage of his passing skills and decision making. He would not weaken the defense too much more than it currently is at that position. Plus it improves the defense at small forwardby allowing someone else play the position who is not afraid to touch people.

  • don

    I hate the Celtics but you have to give them credit that they play hard. Kicking the Suns butt!! When is the last time the Lakers beat any team with authority? From what I recall since I’ve been following every game is that the game is nearly always in question until the final minutes/seconds. What kind of team is that? Championship caliber??? Other teams are getting in their minds that they can beat the Lakers. We should be kicking butt with 2, 7 footers but we can’t even control the boards. That is freaking ridiculous. I am sick of watching Bynum’s weak efforts and not even jumping for rebounds. Even my girlfriend who doesn’t even know basketball calls him “puppydog”. That is going to be our future??? Even if we can step up to beat Cleveland tonight we need to trade for some players that have some damn heart and soul to play hard every game, work hard during the off season to be in shape and beef up, and bring the mindset to win every game. Stop giving these overpaid athletes a break – they make millions of dollars so earn your damn money!!!!!

  • http://www.lakersvolssparks.blogspot.com Margo

    We keep talking abou Drew but Pau really needs to play better defense! Guys still pushing him around and I want him to take some hard fouls! Drew was impressive! Make them think twice!and he hit the ball and arms of Lebron not his head!

  • Darrell

    Logic Boy
    Those were some nice passes by Kobe right… shaq got some great ones too… in recent years the supporting cast weren’t as developed and passes went stray, there’s more reasons, but he’s not a bad passer…I mean I liked how Kobe was passing the ball tonight with 8 fingers… Luke at point.. do you want to give the ball over all game long.. he has great vision and can see the court, but at point…i think your smoking…i mean this is just basic logics… big guy who can’t dribble.. usually not at point even in the triangle…. why do the work for bynum and gasol… he’s letting them know they have to step up and they do and will.. not very consistant, but if Kobe keeps allowing them to do their job.. they will get it… look at the big picture… theres a lot more to the game.. it’s a long season…by the way, sure was a nice pass there to Ariza…12 assist… lets be logical boy

  • Lakers!

    Lakers!!! There we go!

  • bernzter

    Go Lakers…

    The key to tonight’s vicotry… Boards Boards and More Boards and the inside game clicked like a ticking clock from Tag Heuer…

    Once we get inside we get everything… Like Sasha’s intercontinental ballistic missiles from the 1st half… It all started when we got the inside game going… See? Kobe doesn’t need to score big for the team to win. Everyone just has to do their part…

    The Stealth, what a move 2 steals in the fourth again LBJ was what I would think sealed it off… Especially when he was rewarded by Koby w/ an oop at the other end…

    Well done LA… tough win and we can do better but well done indeed…

    OUT…

  • jCizzle

    our depth keeps covering up our lack of rebounding. tell me how many rebounds bynum had. how many times did he not box his man at. bynum had the nice looking stats but come on. 8+ boards and maybe 1-2 blocks is not much to ask from a 7 footer getting paid to be the last line of defense. please step it up. and im not bashing just bynum. pau gasol needs to step it up. for two 7 footers our best rebounder is still odom.

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