Another chapter in the long history of competition against their historic cross country rivals. Barring a return to the court reminiscent of Willis Reed of the Knicks in game seven of the 1970 NBA Finals, our Lakers will go into battle without Kobe Bryant.
Regardless of the teams records or what building the teams compete in whenever these teams play; it is a must-win game for the Lakers. They needs to continue to play with a sense of urgency and approach this as a Playoff game.
The Lakers are 4-0 without Kobe Bryant allowing him time to rest and heal. The frontline of Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, and Lamar Odom have been playing well by averaging 49.6 points and 33 rebounds in the first three games without the ‘Black Mamba’, but witnessing the starters combine for 88 points against the Warriors was impressive.
Andrew Bynum played well in his return from injury; he pumped in 21 points and grabbed seven boards. Lamar Odom was active on the glass by grabbing 18 rebounds. The trio of Gasol, Artest, and Odom off the bench shot poorly and will need to improve in that area.
As usual Boston again will attempt to be the more physical team and attempt to out-muscle the Lakers, they must be aware that their opponent will use this tactic and need to be prepared for it.
The frontline needs to be aggressive and continuously attack the rim to get the Celtics in foul trouble and have a major impact on the outcome of today’s game. I’m sending a message to the Purple and Gold that it’s time to institute the no ‘lay-ups’ rule and urge everyone to emphatically finish at the front of the rim. There’s no better time then now to continuously send the message to them that the Lakers are the last team they want to see as an opponent.
It would be nice to see the majority of the crowd at Staples sporting the same t-shirt Sasha wore recently that read, “You Can’t Beat L.A., Fool!”
The Lakeshow can beat this team without Kobe by running the triangle offense, using excellent ball movement, and excellent player movement and outworking this team.
The backcourt has played well as evidenced by Shannon Brown’s career high 27 points against the Warriors. His defense on the perimeter has been huge causing several turnovers and giving the team the opportunity to get out in transition. Derek Fisher is six points shy of 9,000 career points which would move him into 17th place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.
The Celtics, as much as it pains me to write, play the type of style and defense that will keep them in games. The Lakers need to stop the dribble penetration of Rajon Rondo, the guards have to do a good job of keeping him out of the painted area. The Lakers have to extend their defense out to the three point line against this team that jacks up several shots from behind the arc.
Instead of the crowd chanting ‘We Want Tacos!’ at the end of the game, it would be music to my ears to hear the same chant heard during the Lakers FSN post-game show with Bill MacDonald and Norm Nixon.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: TNT
- Boston: TNT
- Los Angeles: ESPN 710 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Boston: 850 WEEI (Sean Grande & Cedric Maxwell)
- Luke Walton (Pinched Nerve in Back) Out
- Kobe Bryant (sprained left ankle/avulsion fracture, right index finger) Doubtful
- Sasha Vujacic (Strained Right Hamstring)
- None to report.