The (33-10) Los Angeles Lakers are in Toronto, Canada to face the (22-22) Raptors in they’re only appearance at the Air Canada Center.
Despite battling through a long and arduous NBA season the Lakers possess the best record in the NBA. As nice as that sounds, the fact of the matter is that it is a little misleading in the sense that at the half-way mark of the season the Lakers aren’t playing their best basketball, the defense has improved, but their offense has suffered. Make no mistake the Lakers will play better in the second half of the season as the team gets healthy.
There are several league-wide discussions about if the trade that brought Ron Artest to the Lakers has helped or hurt the team, if Kobe playing through his injuries as opposed to sitting out is helping or hurting the team. If the Lakers weren’t dealing with any injuries at all and were out-scoring and out-rebounding everyone; some people in the media would still find something else about the team they didn’t like.
Lakers fans realize that this could be attributed to several different reasons such as injuries, rebounding and consistent scoring from the reserves. Kobe Bryant continues to answer the bell, maintaining a 28-point scoring average playing with multiple injuries while still leading by example. It is way pastime for all of his teammates to step their game up.
The Lakers are a rhythm team, but as Kobe stated recently, “Guys have to get going, Pau’s got to get going, Andrew has got to get going”. The Lakers need balanced scoring; veterans Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom have to consistently have an impact on the game as well as be aggressive, and take high percentage shots that will increase their point totals.
The Purple and Gold have the opportunity to post a six win-one loss record on this extended road trip and collect some much needed wins on the road, since the team doesn’t face another opponent with a winning record until facing a certain team in Massachusetts next Sunday.
Toronto is a dangerous team that has won eight of its last nine home games, including a victory over the Bucks on Friday. The Raptors have also won five straight games at home against the Western Conference. The Lakers need to limit Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu’s impact on the game. Bosh the teams leading scorer, is averaging over 24 points per game, but for his career the Lakers have held him below that average.
The Lakers need to run their offense through the painted area, increase both Andrew and Pau’s touches. Both players need to get into position and attack the rim. The Lakers typically play well when they increase their energy level, display excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to find open high percentage shots. I’m looking forward to a workman like balanced scoring effort in this afternoons road win.
Tip-off: 3:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Toronto: Score (Matt Devlin & Jack Armstrong)
- Los Angeles: ESPN 710 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Toronto: FAN590 AM (Paul Jones & Eric Smith)
- Kobe Bryant (Avulsion fracture of index finger, Elbow & Back)
- PF Reggie Evans (Foot) Out
- C Andrea Bargnani (Back)