The (39-13) Los Angeles Lakers are back at Staples Center to host the (29-20) San Antonio Spurs. The Purple and Gold hit the hardwood at home, after bouncing back from the loss to the Denver Nuggets.

The team made a definitive statement by beating the Trailblazers in Portland without Kobe Bryant. The Lakers assertion was loud and clear that we’re still here and the road to a Championship has to make a few stops at 1111 S. Figueroa Street.

Every Lakers fan knows that the team in general is banged up as well as Kobe Bryant in particular. The question has been out there for a while, “is he going to shut it down and rest for a game or two?” The answer had to be a yes, a road win was necessary, but really wasn’t expected.

To return to the Finals, the Lakers coaching staff knows that the team will have to overcome several uphill battles and challenges. They’re stuck in the role of the hunted as opposed to the hunter. They’re going to receive everyone’s best shot and have to respond.

Facing the Blazers without Kobe in Portland was a huge hurdle cleared, but what it did was prepare the team to play without their leader if necessary, allow Ron, Pau, and Lamar to lead the team. It forced the team to come together, get everyone involved, improved the confidence of the team, and force the players to run the offense to find solid high percentage shots and not look to Kobe to save them at the end of the game.

The Lakers lost to the Spurs 105-85 on January 12th, 2009. Andrew Bynum had a 23 point, eight rebound performance, although Kobe didn’t play in the fourth quarter due to back spasms. Both Andrew and Kobe are nursing injuries and in my opinion shouldn’t play in tonight’s game.

I realize that having both sit out is a lot of production to have to do without, but after seeing how more playing time agreed with the team in Portland, I think it is time to keep both starters out to continue to heal. Denver is still the second best team in the West, they won’t catch the Lakers although with more time to heal when both return each will be fresher as well as closer to 100%.

The task at hand will be slowing down the Spurs big three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli. Lakers needs to be very active defensively, stop the dribble penetration of Tony Parker and force him to shoot a jump shot as opposed to allowing him to hurt the Lakers with the dribble drive or his patented one-man fast break.

Roger Mason and George Mason all do a good job of spotting up behind the arc and knocking down open shots. The main difference is a resurgent Tim Duncan and his production in the painted area. The Lakers need to play solid defense without fouling, control the tempo, be physical, and out-rebound this team.

The Lakers need to come out of the locker room aggressive and attack the basket. The Lakers need to play solid defense without fouling, defend out to the three point line, be physical and out-rebound this team. They can win this game by running their offense, taking care of the ball, and knocking down open shots and executing down the stretch.

Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles: TNT
  • San Antonio: TNT

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • San Antonio: WOAI-AM 1200 (Bill Schoening)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Andrew Bynum (Hip)
  • Kobe Bryant ( Avulsion fracture of his right index finger, Sprained Left Ankle)

Spurs:

  • PG Tony Parker (Sprained Ankle)
  • SG Michael Finley (Ankle)
  • drive-for-16th

    kobe bryant will not play tonight, and bynum will sit too. everyone thsi has to be a team effort and give pau touches like he wants lets he if hes worthy.

  • drive-for-16th

    Tonights game will be interesting

  • THE WARLOCK

    Half way through the second quarter and Gasol is already at his lady-like best tonight… Hands such as those will never have to worry about breaking a nail…

    • LakersBabe

      Gasol is playing soft again. Go figure. At least he is rebounding.

      • THE WARLOCK

        I think I saw Gasol bark back at PJ while in the midst of some of his feeblish work in the first half, and then Jackson almost immediately, sat his @ss down! …Gasol came back in the second half and competed with a lot more intensity… A fire needs to be lit under this dude or something! …He is paramount for The Lakers to repeat… If he brings more heat-(aggression) to the kitchen, then The Lakers will have their cake and eat it too, but if he plays Lucy Goosy, The Lakers might get their geese’s “Cooked”!

  • http://57.amklac a Million Misses!

    hey young , quick, tony parker is torching fisher….go figure.

  • LakersBabe

    Lakers ahead 50-47. I can’t believe that Vuyachoke is actually hitting shots. Fisher had some problems with Parker so they switched out.

    • LakersBabe

      Oh I forgot to add Walton still sucks! Get him out.

      • Green Flannel

        LUKE IS A GREAT PASSER AND HAS A HIGH IQ. EVEN THOUGH HIS ROLE IS NOT BIG HERE HE IS VERY TALENTED.

        • nope

          Which is why he must go. What good is talent if it doesn’t benefit the team?

        • LakersBabe

          If you say so….

  • Green Flannel

    OH YEA IF YOUR A TRUE FAN YOU WOULD STOP DEMEANING THESE PLAYERS WITH RIDICULOUS NAMES.

    • LakersBabe

      If your referring to me, I have heard much worse. If the nickname didn’t fit I wouldn’t use it.

      As for being a true fan, of course I am. I am not a blind fan that says everything is rosy when its not. Get real!

  • Marwan Marzina

    Leandro Barbosa and Jason Richardson from the Suns are on the market. Two great 3 point shooters.

  • Marwan Marzina

    Without Kobe, the Lakers have won the last 2 games and won at an average of 14.5 points. Pretty good considering one killed the curse in Portland and killed the Spurs. I love it.
    BTW why do you people blame Kobe for the Laker wins without him? What has the man done that hasnt benefited the Lakers? He has had 4 game winners this season (5 if you count the Dallas one) and yet its his fault?
    Cut him some slack, it was you people that wanted him to rest up so hes healthy and ready to go and he will be when he comes back.
    Now lets get this win in Utah and then Kobe will have a smooth sailing over the next few days of resting and he comes back hopefully 100%. Lets get this!

    • LakersBabe

      Who is blaming Kobe for wins without him? Huh?

      Of course he needs to rest. Anyone that thinks otherwise is not a true fan and is being selfish.

      • Marwan Marzina

        Well if you are patrolling this site as much as I do, you will find comments like that whether they care comments on the shoutbox or comments on the article pages like these.

  • drive-for-16th

    REST KOBE REST.

    • LakersBabe

      i second and third that.

  • Marwan Marzina

    The Black Mamba
    Pow Gasoline
    Andrew Bynumite
    RonRon
    Derek Swisher
    Candy Man
    Cannon Brown

    • LakersBabe

      Not sure about Candy Man. Sounds a lot like the Olawakandi guy the Clippers used to have. LO is fine with me.

      • LakersBabe

        For Fisher, Fish is fine.

  • berkyberks

    bravo for odom 2 consecutive good nights! and for gasol 21 points and 19 rebounds! finally !they show they would not be needing kobe to win the game!!!! unfair ! this guys don’t show up when kobe is playing it seems like they want kobe out of LA…anyway I’m happy for the win!next stop jazz keep up the goood work!

  • berkyberks

    pau just said in the post interview that they play team basketball. Does it means that with kobe their not a team? his simply dissing kobe! I just felt it !