The Lakers are back in action tonight; playing host to the New Orleans Hornets at the Staples Center. The 5-1 Lakers are riding a four game winning streak. It appears that the Lakers will go to battle again without two of their big men Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol.
The Lakers are coming off of a 16-point win against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Hornets are coming off of a tough 100-90 loss to the Raptors. Tonight’s game will be the first of a three-game road trip for New Orleans; fortunately for the Hornets two games are in Los Angeles.
This will be a game that will be a tough test due to the fact that the Lakers will have to defend the screen and roll play multiple times tonight. The Hornets run this play several times a game and All-Star point guard Chris Paul; arguably one of the three best point guards in the league is excellent at orchestrating their offense and this play to perfection.
The Hornets offense is predicated on Chris Paul scoring and distributing the basketball. He has been doing his best to carry the team. New Orleans is also a team in need of a playmaker at shooting guard and someone who can get their own shot as oppose to awaiting a nice set up from Paul. New Orleans has struggled defensively and has had great difficulty stopping anyone. Look for this trend to continue.
Kobe Bryant has been carrying the Lakers and leading them to victory as evidenced by his 41-point performance against the Grizzlies, his third 40-point effort in four games. Kobe Bryant also became the youngest player to score 24, 000 reaching the mark 38 days before Wilt Chamberlain and ironically surpassing Grizzlies Guard Allen Iverson for 16th place on the All-Time scoring list in the process.
Kobe Bryant has been doing a lot of damage to teams in the post like Michael Jordan did later in his career.
The scary thing is that adding this skill to his arsenal has made one of the best ever players in a word better. His knack for finding a weakness in an opponent and exploiting is at an all time high. Kobe improved his post game over the summer working with Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon and as we can all see Bryant is a fast learner.
The short-handed Lakers led by Kobe & Ron Artest put together a solid team effort with everyone contributing to the win. Los Angeles reserves put up 35 points; the team will need the same type of effort tonight. The Lakers need to use excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to outwork the Hornets.
Kobe will continue to do damage in the post which will put several Hornets in foul trouble. The Lakers need to be solid defending the screen and roll play. Los Angeles needs to stop the dribble penetration from breaking down the defense, control the tempo, glass and limit the Hornets to one shot per possession and make it a point to rotate out to three point shooters.
Tip-off: 6:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: Fox Sports West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- New Orleans: Cox Sports Television (Bob Licht & Gil McGregor)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- New Orleans: KMEZ 106.7 (Sean Kelley & Gerry Vaillancourt)
- Pau Gasol (Hamstring)
- Andrew Bynum ( Strained Elbow)
- Ike Diogu (Knee)