The 31-7 Lakers are back at Staples Center tonight to face the Orlando Magic. The Lakers split the two-game Texas road trip, beating Houston and losing a tough game to the Spurs. The game against the Spurs was one where little defense was played.
ESPN called the game an instant classic, perhaps for a Spurs fan.
The Lakers gave up way too many uncontested three point shots to the Spurs. In a close loss, it usually comes down to missed opportunities and if the Lakers could have back two fast break chances, three missed free throws and not allowing Manu Ginobli’s three-pointer right before the half the outcome would’ve been different.
The Lakers must snap out of their defensive lapses due to the fact that they face a serious challenge in the 31-8 Magic. Despite Kobe’s 41 points on December 20, 2008; this team beat the Lakers 106-103. The Magic are one of the NBA’s best 3-point shooting teams. Orlando made 12-of-33 three point shots in that game.
The Magic are 15-5 on the road and coming off of game where they set an NBA record by making 23 three-point shots. Dwight Howard is pretty much unstoppable in the low post and when doubled it frees up their multiple 3-point shooters.
The Lakers will have to play him straight up to avoid this. The task will get even tougher for Andrew Bynum, with this being his third game in a row against a top big man. Howard is a beast in the low post, Bynum will have to play good position defense, slowing him will be a team effort.
Kobe Bryant will have a big game. The short-handed Lakers need a big effort from Vladimir Radmanovic.
The task of slowing Jameer Nelson, limiting the drive and kick opportunities will initially be on Derek Fisher but also a team effort. The Magic are a solid defensive team but 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: Fox Sports West 1 HD (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Orlando: Sun Sports, FSN Florida HD (David Steele & Matt Guokas)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Orlando: Newstalk AM 580 WDBO (Dennis Newman & Richie Adubato)
- Jordan Farmar (Knee)
- Luke Walton (Foot)
- Sasha Vujacic (Back Spasms)
- None to report.