The (37-12) Los Angeles Lakers are back at the Staples Center, they host the (24-23) Charlotte Bobcats. It is the first home game in two weeks; they ended their 8-game Grammy’s trip with a 5-3 record.
The fact of the matter is, that had the team knocked down their free throws, rebounded, got a consistent contribution from their bench, and executed down the stretch the Lakers would have returned home undefeated on the recently completed extended road trip.
Kobe Bryant became the Lakers’ All-Time leading scorer in the loss to the Grizzlies; he passed Hall of Famer Jerry “the Logo” West. He also became 14th All-Time with 25,208 points. It was great to hear Kobe speak of the honor of playing for the Purple and Gold, as well as discuss how Jerry West taught him so much about the game at a very young age.
Head Coach Phil Jackson is one win away from becoming the franchise leader in wins. Ironically Kobe Bryant and the Lakers haven’t had a lot of success against tonight’s opponent in Los Angeles or Charlotte for that matter. It’s hard to forget that in the last meeting at Staples Center, Kobe dropped 38 points on the pesky Bobcats and Andrew Bynum was ejected for a flagrant foul after knocking down Gerald Wallace as the Lakers lost to Charlotte. Andrew did post a double-double in that game with 24 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots.
The Bobcats are a team that plays very hard, competes and has given the Lakers problems. Hopefully, the team got a lot of rest because the Lakers needs to play with a high energy level and match the intensity that tonight’s opponent will bring.
It can be easily be attributed to things that happen during an NBA season, not playing with a high energy level, making too many mistakes, injuries or not executing at the level that they’re capable of but every Lakers fan knows that the team can and will play better.
Charlotte has an athletic/flexible lineup at the Shooting Guard, Small Forward and Power Forward positions that can provide some match up problems. The Bobcats can be effective going small as well. The Lakers have had difficulty slowing down Raymond Felton in screen and roll situations, he can and will explode to the basket; Lakers need to limit his impact on that offensive action tonight and play defense without fouling.
The Lakers need to focus on playing team basketball, being patient, and running their offense. They need to establish both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the painted area and look to hurt the Bobcats in this area. The Lakers frontline needs to play aggressive on both ends of the floor and concentrate on attacking the basket. It all starts with the ‘bigs’ getting a lot of touches.
The Purple and Gold need to take care of the ball, not let the Bobcats get out and run in transition. The Lakers need to play at their pace, utilize excellent player movement and excellent ball movement to find high percentage shots. It would be great to see the team knock down their free throws and out-rebound their opponent.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Charlotte: FS South (Steve Martin & Del Curry)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Charlotte: WNMX 106.1 (Scott Lauer)
- Kobe Bryant (Avulsion fracture of right index finger, elbow & back)
- Luke Walton (Pinched Nerve, Back)
- C Tyson Chandler (Stress Reaction, Left Foot) Out