The (49-18) Los Angeles Lakers are in the state’s capital, Sacramento, to face the (23-44) Kings in a back-to-back game.
The Lakers escaped with a win against the Warriors last night in a strange game. They survived a game that included several mistakes that the Warriors benefited from; such as 24 turnovers, 31 fast break points, allowing 50 points in the paint, and a 100-shot onslaught. As strange as this sounds, the Lakers had the game in control, for the most part, except for a furious rally at the end by those pesky Warriors.
The Kings have given the Lakers trouble this season. The last time these teams met, the game went to double-overtime before the Black Mamba sealed the win for Los Angeles.
The Purple and Gold didn’t play well against the Kings ‘horns set’ screen and roll action and screen and pop out for an open jump shot plays, it allowed Spencer Hawes to have a career day. The defensive rotations and closeouts have to come faster as well as be more effective.
The Kings are a talented young team who feels like they should be 2-0 against the Lakers due to playing two close games against the defending Champions. Young players have to learn that there is a big difference between being close to a win and actually tasting victory. The Lakerss have given too many teams confidence by not putting forth their best effort and playing down to their level. The game against the Warriors was a prime example; turnovers, missed free throws, and poor defense.
The Purple and Gold faced talented Stephen Curry last night, who put on a show by scoring 29 points; they will face Tyreke Evans tonight both are in the running to win the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award.
The Kings are a little different team with the loss of guard Kevin Martin and the addition of power forward Carl Landry. The Lakers have to get back to the basics and control the tempo of the game and not let this team get out in transition. They have to play solid defense, rebound this team, and focus on keeping a body between Carl Landry and the basket. The front line needs to stay aggressive and attack the basket. The team needs to be on the same page on how they will defend the screen and roll. It would be wise to take the ball out of Tyreke Evans hands.
The Lakers are building momentum to properly defend their title and to do that we need to clean up our defense, take care of the ball, knock down free throws, and stop allowing lay-ups. I caught the latest ESPN “30 for 30″ and I bring this up in remembrance of both the Knicks and Pacers of the mid-90’s having a ‘no lay-up or trips down the lane’ rule. It is something that I would love to see the Lakers implement to improve their interior defense.
I know that era of basketball is over, but the concept of slowing teams own and making teams earn their points at the line after picking themselves up off the floor hasn’t. The Lakers need to play with a sense of urgency and come out aggressive, getting a lead and taking control of this team will take the crowd out of it. The house will be rocking with the Los Angeles Lakers in town; its time for the Lakers to be the team putting on a show.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 & ESPN (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Sacramento: Comcast Sportsnet (Grant Napear & Jerry Reynolds)
- Los Angeles: KABC 790 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Sacramento: 1140 AM KHTK (Gary Gerould)
- Kobe Bryant (Avulsion fracture of right index finger, elbow & back)
- Sasha Vujacic (Sprained Right Shoulder) Listed as Day-to-Day
- Luke Walton (Back) Out
- Ron Artest (Sprained Left Thumb)
- Jordan Farmar (Broken Left Pinkie)
- C Jon Brockman (Sprained Medial Collateral Ligament) Out