The (33-15) Los Angeles Lakers are back at Staples Center tonight to accomplish two things 1) host the (22-27) Houston Rockets 2) snap a two-game losing streak and pick up the pieces from their latest lost.
Since October, the Lakers have posted 10-5 records each month. It is becoming blatantly obvious that they won’t have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The information that may surprise you is that the Lakers winning percentage (.688) is very close to last season’s (.695).
The Lakers know what needs to happen and will figure it out. It is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when.
The Lakers and Rockets have split the season series, so far, with each team successfully defending their home court. The Lakers won the season series 3-1 last year. They’re 8-2 against the Rockets in their last 10 games.
The Rockets are a scrappy team that always puts up a good fight. The Lakers have struggled against this team before. The Rockets will likely play only three guards in this game. The Lakers need to step up their game and play with more energy.
Defense is the key to everything the Lakers want to accomplish. They need to stay in front of their opponent, communicate of defense, play solid against the screen and roll plays and rebound the ball.
The Rockets, like every team in the league, will be physical with the Lakers and the front line needs to be prepared to deal with it. Andrew Bynum is experiencing soreness in his knee. The Lakers need to run their offense through Pau Gasol, he needs to win his match up with Luis Scola.
The Lakers big players are not playing like seven-footer’s. The Lakers frontline needs to start catching the ball in the painted area and attacking the rim. It is time to implement the ‘no layup’ rule. They need to stop allowing them on defense. It is time to shut down the painted area and make teams earn their points at the free throw line.
Ron Artest is facing his former team, again. Artest has really struggled; he has scored a total of 14 points in the last three games on 4-for-19 shooting from the field.
For the Lakers to be successful, everyone has to contribute. The Rockets have an under-sized center and no shot blockers, their front line needs to score 50+ points and secure 30+ rebounds.
The Lakers need to bounce back and get a win tonight to start a new streak because the schedule will only get tougher.
The Purple and Gold need to start the playoff push today.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Rockets: K. Lowry, K. Martin, S. Battier, L. Scola, J. Hill
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Houston: Fox Sports Houston (Bill Worrell & Clyde Drexler)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Houston: 610 AM (Adam Wexler)
- Matt Barnes (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Right Knee) Out
- Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Doubtful
- Derrick Caracter (Sprained Left Ankle) Probable
- SG Courtney Lee (Flu) Questionable
- C Brad Miller (Knee) Out