Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The (29-11) Los Angeles Lakers are at Staples Center tonight hosting the (10-28) New Jersey Nets.

The Lakers beat the soon to be Brooklyn Nets 99-92 in New Jersey on December 12, 2010. The Lakers have swept the season series with the Nets for two consecutive years; a win tonight will raise that total to three. The Lakes have won eight of the last nine games against the Nets, including the last six straight.

The Purple and Gold are riding a six game winning streak. They’re a rhythm team currently playing in an excellent rhythm. They’ve improved due to their defense, energy, focus and half court execution.

Kobe Bryant is once again is leading the league in All-Star votes; Pau Gasol is making strong cases for selection as well. However, Lamar Odom’s play is demanding a selection.

Tonight’s game brings the return of former Lakers Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic. Both are doing a solid job of dealing with change. Sasha has gained a new perspective and more playing time in New Jersey. The reinvigorated Sasha Vujacic has increased both his scoring average (11.3 points) and minutes (27 minutes a game).

As expected Vujacic has become a reliable option for New Jersey. The Nets fourth leading scorer led his team in scoring and pumped in 19 points in New Jersey’s loss to the Suns. The Nets have been in the news a lot, unfortunately not for their play, but because of trade rumors. This writer happens to suffer from trade rumor fatigue.

New Jersey had six players score in double-digits. The Nets lost despite holding a 90-75 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers had a bit of a relapse to their old ways defensively to start the Warriors game before getting back on track in the second half. It is imperative that they control the tempo, get back in transition, do a solid job defending the screen and roll plays and quickly rotate out to open shooters.

The Lakers need to establish both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the post, provide them several touches and allow them to dominate. Bynum and Gasol need to be aggressive on both ends of the court and out-rebound and out-work the Nets.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Nets:
D. Harris, S. Graham, T. Outlaw, D. Favors, B. Lopez

Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • New Jersey: YESN (Marv Albert & Mike Fratello)

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • New Jersey: WFAN 660 (Chris Carrino & Tim Capstraw)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Matt Barnes (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Right Knee) Out
  • Lamar Odom (Sore Left Shoulder) Probable
  • Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Out

Nets:

  • SG Anthony Morrow (Strained Right Hamstring) Out