The (16-6) Lakers embark on a six-game road trip; their first stop and probably their toughest against the (12-8) Chicago Bulls. The Lakers start this road trip with the momentum of a three-game winning streak.
Head Coach Phil Jackson and the majority of his staff will be hit with a bit of nostalgia playing in Chicago at the United Center and coming out of the visiting locker room.
The Lakers outlasted the Clippers on a spectacular buzzer beater by the Lakers new iron man, Derek Fisher. It was great to see him add another buzzer beater to his legacy, show everyone that he’s still got it and give the best closer in the game the night off.
Derek Fisher has played 435 consecutive regular season games dating back to April 15, 2005. That happens to be the longest consecutive games streak among all active NBA players.
However, the original Lakers iron man, A.C. Green, still holds the NBA record for most consecutive games played with 1,192 accomplished from 11/19/86 – 4/18/01 as a member of the Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, and Miami Heat.
The Lakers beat the Chicago Bulls 98-91 at Staples Center on 11/23/10. The Bulls are looking to end a seven-game losing streak to your two-time defending champion.
Kobe Bryant needs just 21 points to pass John Havilcek for 11th place on the all-time scoring list. It is this writer’s belief that Kobe will have 21 points and surpass John Havilcek by the middle of the third quarter at the latest.
His has averaged 21-points in the Lakers other six wins over the Bulls; he did have a 42-point effort on 12/15/09.
The Bulls like every other team in the league plays the Lakers tough and tonight’s game will be no different.
The fact of the matter is, the struggles that the Lakers have experienced are based on the team acclimating the new players into their system. The triangle offense isn’t an easy offense to learn and it does take time. The same can be said about the defensive and especially the defensive rotations and knowing where you’re supposed to be.
The Lakers need to control the tempo of the game and play with energy, focus and determination. They have to stop the dribble penetration of Derrick Rose, do a good job defending the screen and roll play, out-rebound the Bulls, limit the Bulls to one shot per possession and quickly rotate out to open shooters.
The Bulls will have Carlos Boozer back in the line-up tonight. Despite the fact that when he was a member of the Utah Jazz; he is still a consistent 20-point 10 rebound guy.
The Lakers front line is thin, but has to continue to out-work their opponents. Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom have to play aggressive on both ends of the court and attack the rim early and often. It will be nice to see all three score in double digits.
The reserves played well against the Bulls at the Staples Center outscoring Chicago 39-10. The reserves have to be effective and make an impact with the time given to them. The reserves should produce 40+ points. Shannon Brown, a suburban Chicago native who had a cup of coffee with his home town team, but has flourished in a reserve role for the Purple and Gold returns home to play well and put on a show in front of family and friends.
Tip-off: 5:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 & ESPN (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Chicago: Comcast SportsNet, WGN 9 (Neil Funk & Stacey King)
- Los Angeles: ESPN 710 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Chicago: ESPN 1000 AM (Chuck Swirsky & Bill Wennington)
- Andrew Bynum (Right Knee) Out
- Theo Ratliff ( Left Knee) Out
- Lamar Odom (Sore Right Foot) Probable
- Derrick Caracter (Sprained Left Ankle) Listed as Day-to-Day