The Los Angeles Lakers start the 2009-2010 season and defense of their title after a ring ceremony tonight. Then the first of four battles of Los Angeles games has them facing the young and talented new look Clippers without there stud Rookie Blake Griffin.
The addition of Ron Artest gives the Lakers a different look, makes them much more versatile, brings a proven defensive presence as well as allows Kobe Bryant to rest on defense as oppose to having to guard the opponents’ best player.
So many Championship teams fall short in their attempts to repeat by deciding to stand pat and not improve the team thinking that teams have to adjust to them. Luckily for the Lakers and their fans that will not be the case this year.
The Lakers long and versatile lineup led by Kobe Bryant will continue to cause match up problems league wide.
The scary thing is that this Championship team will be better this year with improved & consistent play of Guards Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujucic and Shannon Brown. On more than one occasion during the Championship run, Jordan & Sasha failed to knock down open shots; both players realize that and recognize what has to be done.
Derek Fisher remains an integral part of this team that keeps things together, spaces the floor and is truly character driven. By some media accounts he is thought of as a weakness on the team, considered a year older and a step slower.
There is some truth to that, although he was never known for his foot speed. But if memory serves me correctly, he was the same guy that knocked down a three pointer to tie game four of the NBA Finals and send it to overtime and knock down another three pointer to give the Lakers a 94-91 lead. He is a champion that will do what it takes to win.
The Lakers front line is bolstered by the addition of Ron Artest, who will silence all of his detractors with solid consistent play. He is a versatile guy that can do score on the perimeter or in the painted area, an excellent passer who can defend in the post and on the wing.
Andrew Bynum is healthy and ready to be a force this year. He was the Lakers leading scorer in the pre-season. He needs to stay healthy and continue to work toward being a low post presence for the team. Defense will be the teams’ calling card.
The Clippers have a solid young nucleus and depth on their roster. If the Clippers can learn and grow together as a team they could challenge for a playoff spot. The team has potential but it is a matter of getting things accomplished on the court.
The Clippers are a team filled with talented young players that want to get out in transition so to avoid allowing fast break points it is imperative that the Lakers get back in transition, control the tempo, rebound, stop the dribble penetration and rotate out to three point shooters.
Tip-off: 7:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: TNT (HD)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Los Angeles: KFWB 980 (Ralph Lawler & Brian Sieman)
Pau Gasol (Hamstring)
- PF Marcus Camby (Left Ankle Sprain)
- PF – Blake Griffin