The (55-22) Los Angeles Lakers are back in Colorado; the first stop of a two-game road trip to face the (51-27) Denver Nuggets. Tonight’s game will be the last of the four game series; the Nuggets leads the series 2-1 and the Lakers needs to tie the series.
Both teams have struggled down the stretch, the Nuggets are five-five in their last 10 games. The Lakers are six-four in their last 10 games.
The Lakers aren’t in a position to take anyone lightly. Despite the fact that there are only five games remaining in the regular season they have to approach this game as a Playoff game, but why stop there why not make it a statement game.
The issues that have been slowing the Lakers down are their defense, injuries, not playing with a sense of urgency, not defending the screen and roll plays, not taking care of the basketball, rebounding, allowing too many layups, terrible perimeter shooting, not making free throws, and a non-existent bench.
I feel that several of these issues are correctable and the Lakers have five games to work on these issues. The question is, after these next five-games will the team remain in first place in the Western Conference or have to deal with a lower seed?
The Lakers need to get back to the basics of running their offense to perfection. The Lakers are a difficult team to beat when they use excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to find a high percentage shot and outwork their opponent. They are a long team and need to utilize their size advantage much more.
I want this to serve as a memo to the Lakers that now is the time focus on three things 1) defense, 2) don’t allow any lay-ups, 3 )and play with passion on every possession. This goes for both ends of the court. They need to not allow any lay-ups on defense and not take any on offense. They needs to play with good energy, the front line needs to be aggressive and attack the basket early and often and play like seven footers. This is necessary at this point in the season because it is a known fact that Lamar Odom isn’t going to receive a call unless he is aggressive.
The Lakers are rested and should play aggressive and with great energy. The match up between Carmelo Anthony and Ron Artest will be epic. The Nuggets have more than enough talent in the backcourt to provide the Lakers several problems, but Derek Fisher, Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar are all Champions that have to play well and accept the challenge.
I want to see the Purple and Gold stop the dribble penetration, control the tempo, get back in transition, rebound and do a better job of controlling the painted area. The Lakers need this game tonight.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: TNT & KCAL (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Denver: TNT & Altitude Sports & Entertainment (Chris Marlowe & Scott Hastings)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Denver: KKFN AM 950 (Jerry Schemel & Mark Bertagnolli)
- Ron Artest (Left Heel Bruise/Sprained Left Thumb)
- Shannon Brown (Sprained Right Thumb)
- Kobe Bryant (Avulsion Fracture, Right Index Finger)
- Andrew Bynum (Left Achilles Strain) Out
- Sasha Vujacic (Sprained Right Shoulder)
- Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is probable.
- Kenyon Martin (Left Knee) Out
- Chris Anderson (Left Ankle Sprain) Listed as day-to-day
- Chauncey Billups (Left Quadriceps Contusion) probable