The Lakers are in Oakland to play a back-to-back game against the Golden State Warriors tonight, fresh off of a convincing win over the ATL. The Lakers will have to stay focused this is the first of several road games.
The Lakers trailed early, and then basically broke the Hawks in half with an outstanding defensive performance, lead by Pau Gasol’s triple-double, the bench mob providing tremendous energy and Lamar Odom acting like Cinnabon cinnamon and staying on a roll. He is averaging 18.5 points and 18.5 rebounds over the last four games, playing good defense and really playing up to his potential. He helped the Lakers destroy the Hawks on the boards to the tune of 63-36. The only downside was having 23 turnovers which the team will have to clean up.
This is the third meeting this season against the Warriors; Los Angeles won 130-113 on 12/28/08 & 114-106 on 1/7, a Lakers win tonight will give the team the season series. Kobe Bryant will play the role of facilitator and score 30 points.
The blowout win allowed the Lakers to rest their starters, who shouldn’t have to deal with tired legs. They’ll have to play with the same defensive intensity shown against the ATL and impose their will on Golden State. The Lakers former teammate and true warrior Ronny Turiaf will start at center matching up with Pau. This is a match up that the Lakers will exploit with the size advantage. A match up of Stephen Jackson vs. Lamar at power forward could pull him away from the basket but Lamar can play on the perimeter.
Basketball is a game of runs & match ups and Warriors Coach Don Nelson will come up with some unique match ups to get the Lakers out of their comfort zone. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Warriors repeatedly run the pick and roll play going to the basket or setting up open shots for Stephen Jackson, Joe Crawford and Kelenna Azubuike.
Monta Ellis has returned so look for the Warriors to play small ball, get in transition and attempt to run the Lakers out of the building. The Lakers are playing to their advantage running their offense and establishing Pau Gasol in the low post, attacking inside and letting him set the table for everyone else and passing the ball out to open shooters.
Both teams can score but the difference is that the Lakers are a better defensive team. They’ll have to control the tempo and the glass as well as rotate out to three point shooters.
Tipoff: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL Channel 9 HD (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Golden State: Comcast Sports Net Bay Area HD (Bob Fitzgerald & Jim Barnett)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Golden State: KNBR Sports 680 or KNBR 1050AM (Tim Roye)
- Andrew Bynum (Knee)
- Andris Biedrins (Ankle)