The (48-18) Los Angeles Lakers are in Northern California for the two remaining games of this road trip; tonight, facing the (18-47) Golden State Warriors in Oakland.

The last time these teams met; the Warriors’ Monta Ellis and the Black Mamba couldn’t go, but the game turned out to be the Shannon Brown show. Brown led the way, putting on a show for the Purple and Gold faithful by posting 27 points and 10 rebound stat line.

Before you casually look at the Warriors win-loss record and consider this an easy win for the Lakers, I urge you to proceed with caution and consider the Lakers struggles against other teams with poor records that are considered non-playoff teams.

The Lakers have dominated the Warriors for quite sometime; taking 23 of the last 26 games including tonight’s match up. The Lakers can and will build on the win against the Suns and carry it through the remainder of the season simply by playing with a sense of urgency and stringing together solid wins regardless of the opponent.

Ron Artest said that he wants the Lakers to finish the regular season 18-0; I like that thought, I like the mentality that it’s doable and I know for a fact that the Lakers Nation feels the same way.

The Lakers will defend their title, but are still in need of improvements. The Lakers needs to eliminate the turnovers, rebound better and shake being allergic to the free throw line. The Warriors are a team that causes a lot of turnovers so the Purple and Gold will have to take care of the basketball and make quality passes.

The Warriors are a team that wants to get out in transition and score easy baskets. Lakers need to control the tempo by establishing both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the painted area and allow them to go to work.

The Warriors don’t have to size to defend the Lakers front line and that match up needs to be exploited. Andrew Bynum is playing aggressive, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom need to do the same and continuously attack the basket.

Defensively, the Lakers need to keep the Warriors out of the painted area and defend out to the three point line.

The Lakers have an inordinate amount of hand injuries this season, but no team has more injuries than the Warriors. This is not the time to break out the sympathy rule on the Warriors and give them anything easy. The Lakers need to make life difficult for the healthy players on the Warriors and contest every shot.

The Lakers should have at least five players in double digits and win this game big.

Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST

Television

  • Los Angeles: KCAL 9 & ESPN (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Golden State: CSN Bay & ESPN (Bob Fitzgerald & Jim Barnett)

Radio

  • Los Angeles: KABC 790 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Golden State: KNBR 680 (Tim Roye)

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Kobe Bryant (Avulsion fracture of right index finger, elbow & back)
  • Sasha Vujacic (Sprained Right Shoulder) Listed as Day-to-Day
  • Luke Walton (Back) Out
  • Ron Artest (Sprained Left Thumb)
  • Jordan Farmar (Broken Left Pinkie)