The (13-3) Los Angeles Lakers are at Staples Center tonight to host the (7-7) Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are coming off of an overtime loss to the Oklahoma Thunder and the Lakers to a disappointing loss to the Utah Jazz.
The Lakers loss to the Jazz was a perfect example of what happens when a team doesn’t defend and can’t knock down shots from behind the arc. It also proves a point to those who refuse to believe that during a season, every team faces tough times on the road.
The Jazz were able to add to their list of slow starts and spectacular finishes coming back from a 19-point deficit to win 102-96. The Lakers lead the NBA in three-point shooting, but when the squad relies on that aspect of their game, they’re not playing to their strong suit or interior size advantage. It’s great to see the Lakers leading the league in three-point shooting, but it’s a double-edged sword because you know for a fact that there will be nights like this. Ironically, despite the above mentioned facts, the Lakers were still in position to win the game at the end, but failed to execute down the stretch.
Thoughts of these two teams fighting for an NBA Championship ten years ago might come to memory when you see the title: “Lakers vs. Pacers”. The Lakers have dominated this match-up winning 11 straight games against the Pacers. For this to continue, their dominance over the Pacers starts and ends with the defense.
The Lakers have to control the tempo, stop the dribble penetration, get back in transition, play solid on screen and roll plays and quickly rotate out to three point shooters. They have to control the boards and out-work this team. They need to run their offense from the inside out. They need to feature Pau Gasol and let him go to work on the inside. They won’t have a problem scoring, but the team needs to move the ball from side to side to find a high percentage shots and stop shooting so many three-point shots.
Kobe Bryant will set the tone early and the rest of the team will follow his lead. The bounce-back win will be a team effort with everyone getting involved.
Tip-off: 6:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Indiana: FS Indiana (Quinn Buckner & Chris Denari)
- Los Angeles: ESPN 710 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Indiana: 1070 The Fan (Mark Boyle & Bobby Leonard)
- Andrew Bynum (Right Knee) Out
- Theo Ratliff (Left Knee) Out
- Lamar Odom (Sore Right Foot) Probable
- PF Jeff Foster (Sore Lower Back) Probable
- PG T.J. Ford (Stomach Virus) Is a Game-Time Decision