The (26-11) Los Angeles Lakers will don their white jerseys at Staples Center tonight to host the streaking (21-14) New York Knicks.
The Lakers are riding a three-game winning streak themselves; winning five of the their last six games after beating the New Orleans Hornets 101-97.
A mixture of both good and bad things happened to the Lakers in the process of beating the Hornets for the second time in ten days. Kobe Bryant achieved another milestone, he moved into the NBA’s top 10 by surpassing “The Big O”, Oscar Robertson, to move into ninth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. It has been great to see Kobe climb the ladder of the leagues best scorers.
As great as Kobe Bryant’s career has been, looking back, no one could have imagined how special the ride would be for the Lakers, the basketball world, the city of Los Angeles and the kid drafted right out of Lower Merion High School in 1996.
When it registers in your mind the enormity of the games legends that Kobe has passed. Names like Larry Bird, Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson and Jerry West and that thought can only be followed by an emphatic …WOW!
Matt Barnes left the game in the second quarter with an injury; an MRI revealed that he suffered a tear of the lateral meniscus in his right knee. He will need surgery and will be out of action for an extended period. The Lakers have recalled rookie Devin Ebanks from his D-League’s Bakersfield Jam. Ebanks averaged 14.6 points and 7.6 rebounds in five games with the Jam.
The loss of Matt Barnes, an integral part of the rotation, translates to playing time up for grabs. The Lakers have not been received major production from the small forward position. However, Barnes was the most productive providing solid defense holding his man below his league average, while providing depth, speed, quickness and athleticism on a team lacking in those department.
We will more than likely see Kobe log some minutes at small forward. Luke Walton and Devin Ebanks will back up starter Ron Artest. The Lakers swept the season series against the Knicks in 2010. The Lakers have won the last six games against them. The last time the Knicks won in Los Angeles was February 13, 2007.
The New York Knicks are a dangerous team for the streak to continue, the Lakers have to execute the triangle offense. They have to take care of the ball and utilize excellent ball movement as well as excellent player movement to out-work the Knicks and find a high percentage shot in the painted area.
The Knicks are the leagues highest scoring team at 108.1 points per game. They is essentially play small ball with a three-guards and Amare Stoudemire at Center. Stoudemire has been playing at an MVP level providing everything the Knicks have wanted.
The Lakers have to slow them down by controlling the painted area and establishing both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the post. The Knicks do not have the size to deal with the Lakers size and length.
Stop Raymond Felton’s dribble penetration, get back in transition, do a solid job of defending the screen and roll plays, quickly rotate out open shooters.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, L. Odom and P. Gasol
Knicks: R. Felton, T. Douglas, L. Fields, W. Chandler, A. Stoudemire,
Tip-off: 6:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- New York: MSG Network (Kenny Albert, Mike Breen & Walt Frazier)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- New York: ESPN 1050 AM (John Andariese & Mike Chispino)
- Matt Barnes (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Right Knee) Out
- Steve Blake (Sprained Left Ankle) Probable
- Lamar Odom (Sore Left Shoulder) Probable
- Andrew Bynum (Right Knee Soreness) Probable
- Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Out
- Danilo Gallinari (Sprained Left Knee) Out
- Kelenna Azubuike (Left Knee Surgery) Out