The (21-9) Los Angeles Lakers are in San Antonio to face the league-best (26-4) Spurs.
After consecutive blowout losses… at home, no less — by a combined 35 points; everyone can see that the Lakers are playing poorly.
As stated previously, the Lakers have been playing poorly and didn’t even show up for the Christmas Day game. Losing games will happen in the NBA, but there is something to be said about the way you lose.
When you are embarrassed; twice, fail to show up and compete at the championship level that the Lakers Nation knows the squad can and should perform; it’s not a good look.
It also must be said that championships aren’t won or lost in December, but you must compete whenever you step on the floor. We’ve seen early season struggles from the Lakers before and the latest loss could be seen coming long before it actually happened.
Complacency had a part to play in the most recent loss in addition to being a bit cocky. Winning back-to-back championships can do that to a team.
Tonight’s game provides the Lakers another opportunity to right the ship. Kobe Bryant took the team to task and demanded that everyone step up.
The Spurs are a team with a high energy offense. Matt Bonner leads the league in made three point shots. Their reserves have been tremendous for a team taught to be a slow methodical club. This is a difficult challenge for the Lakers. However, if the Lakers want to play in your face defense, really want to stop someone and collectively want to do whatever it takes for the team to win it will be on full display tonight.
The Lakers effort, energy and execution have to return to acceptable levels. It is time to see passion on every possession from the Lakers. The Spurs have had success playing small ball and the Lakers have to make them pay. The Lakers need to play aggressive and on every possession play with the mindset of “no easy baskets”.
The Lakers need to control the tempo and play at their pace, do a solid job of defending the screen and roll play, stop the dribble penetration of the guards, get back in transition, challenge every shot and limit the Spurs to one shot per possession.
It is time to see the trademark excellent ball movement and excellent player movement in the triangle offense to find a high percentage shot in the painted area. The team has fallen in love with the three-point shot and that needs to stop immediately.
Kobe Bryant is going to set the tone and lead by example. The Black Mamba has averaged 16.8 points in his last four games and is due for a breakout game. That game will be tonight.
From now to whenever the season ends, the Lakers need to get physical exert their dominance in the low post by attacking the basket early and often.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, L. Odom and P. Gasol
Spurs: T. Parker, M. Ginobili, R. Jefferson, T. Duncan, DeJuan Blair
Tip-off: 5:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- San Antonio: My35 (Bill Land & Sean Elliott)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- San Antonio: WOAI-AM 1200 (Bill Schoening)
- Theo Ratliff ( Left Knee) Out
- Andrew Bynum (Right Knee soreness) Probable
- Kobe Bryant (Sprained Pinkie Finger, Right Hand) will play
- James Anderson ( Stress Fracture in Right Fifth Metatarsal) Out