Getty Images | Photo By Ronald Martinez

The (34-15) Los Angeles Lakers are playing at Staples Center tonight hosting the Western Conference leading (40-8) San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers dropped their last game against the Spurs, losing by 15. The’ve split their last eight games.

The Lakers are 1-5 against the NBA’s elite so far this season. All the chatter the Lakers are hearing, right now, is due to their inconsistency. They’ve experienced and have survived mid-season struggles. They’re just three games off of last years record at this time when they posted a 37-12 record.

A trade is not mandatory. Any good GM, at this time of the year, will remain aware of any available player that can improve his team.

A key component to possess if you want to make a trade is an expiring contract and the Lakers do not have that luxury. They have the personnel to get the job done but said personnel have to execute.

The Lakers are a team made up of predominately-veteran players, this is not their first rodeo, and these veteran players know how to win.

It is the opinion of this writer that when completely healthy the Lakers are a deeper team this season than they were last year. The areas of need are youth and athleticism. Matt Barnes provides a lot of athleticism and activity for this team; with his return to the lineup, it will appear as if the Lakers acquired a new player.

The Lakers can cut into the Spurs 6 ½ game cushion tonight with a win. It is imperative that they step up their game on the defensive end. They must shake this trend of not getting back in transition, late close outs, poor or late rotations, needless double teaming non-threatening post players, allowing too many three-point shots and shooting poorly themselves.

The Purple and Gold clad warriors need to play solid defense, keep their men in front of them and challenge every shot. Their reaction time and activity level have to increase. They need a balanced effort scoring with everyone contributing. They need multiple players in double figures and not just Kobe and Pau. They’ll get a lift if Bynum is able to play tonight.

Defensively, the Lakers have stop the dribble penetration of Tony Parker, do a solid job defending the screen and roll plays, quickly rotate out to open shooters and challenge every shot.  They have communicate on defense and fight through screens and stay in front of their opponent.

The Lakers have to use excellent ball movement, excellent player movement to find high percentage shots in the painted area. They need balance scoring and their front line needs to be aggressive and attack the rim.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, L. Odom, P. Gasol
Spurs:
T. Parker, M. Ginobili, R. Jefferson, T. Duncan, DeJuan Blair

Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • San Antonio: My35 (Bill Land & Sean Elliott)

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • San Antonio: WOAI-AM 1200 (Bill Schoening)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Matt Barnes (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Right Knee) Out
  • Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Doubtful
  • Andrew Bynum (Bone Bruise Knee) Questionable

Spurs:

  • PF Matt Bonner (Sore Right Knee) Questionable
  • Tyler

    Hope Bynum Plays. If not, Tim duncan will have a field day against odom and gasol. Lets hope for the best

    If the lakers come out with intensity,they can really get this MUCH needed win. If they loose…I expect a lot more trade talk.

    • daboss1848

      How did the Gasol/LO do in 08 when they faced SAS in Conf. Finals w/o Bynum? If they loose, more trade talk. .. what if they tight?

      • Tyler

        I personally believe that getting a win against an elite team will silence some talks, and personally, I believe that this game could give the lakers some confidence and they have some potential to pick up a few more key wins and go into the upcoming road trip on a good note

        as for Gasol/Odom. Im sure they will hold their own, but I believe bynum will give them a much better chance

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  • Celtics Suck Nuts

    I think Celtics and Spurs will run out of gas by the end of the season and strings of games then. After all, they are human. They cannot keep up this effort the whole way. Better to save it for the playoffs.

    3 point shooting cannot be trusted as much as post play, so the Spurs are more vulnerable. Boston can always go to KG and Shaq in the post if their shooting goes cold.

    • Celtics Suck Nuts

      *lose* strings of games then

    • Dave R

      Spurs run out of gas with their big 3 averaging less minutes. Man what u smoking? As a die hard Spurs fan and a big admirer of the Lakers (yes we do exist, you can’t take anything away from what the Lakers have done), I have to disagree that the Spurs will RUN OUT OF GAS. But it will be a good second half of the season. Good luck to the Lakers, and Go Spurs Go.

      • lakerfan

        @Dave R

        i respect you man, not hatin’ on the lakers. we appreciate fans like you here at TLN. welcome. though we may say we hate the spurs at times, it’s only because they are probably the biggest threat to us in the west. the rivalry’s classic, the tales between the two franchises are endless. that said, lets have a good hard fought game.

        lets go lakers!

        • ilikebasketball

          i agree. good to hear this from others.

          spurs are a great rivalry to me because they are, in my opinion, the most respected opponent. they come out, they play hard, they have great players, great coach. no cheap crap.

          boston miami are just irritating and unlikeable for reasons i won’t go into now.

          spurs are a rival i can respect.

      • Celtics Suck Nuts

        This is where your math is a little off. That’s the point. They play everyone hard except Tim Duncan

        One player can’t just all of a sudden turn it on for the whole team. You wish that was true.

  • Mast

    I thought the game was airing on national TV, TNT.

  • Nick

    Lets go Spurs. Follow in the footsteps of the Celtics and Pierce the Boa Constricter and lay a beatdown on these bums. The same problems will be there that were obvious against Boston. NO BENCH!!! George Hill, Gary Neal, Mcdyess,Splitter, just wait. Blair and Duncan inside are gonna beast ya’ll U guys are gonna get raped by Parker just like u did by Rondo. In all seriousness Y does a team who wants to win the title have 1 of the worst point guards in the NBA?

    • ilikebasketball

      wants?

      WON, fool.

      2 in a row

    • KingJames6

      Lets go Miami. Follow in the footsteps of the Heat of 06 and Wade and Shaq the Diesel and lay a beatdown on the Celtic bums. The same problems will be there that were obvious against Orlando in the 2009 Eastern Finals. No Garnett!!!! Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Baby Davis, just wait. LeBron and Wade and Bosh inside and out are gonna beast ya”ll U guys are gonna get raped by LeBron just like U did by Howard in 09 east finals. In all seriousness Y does a team who wants to win the title have thee ugliest colored jerseys ever in the NBA. Dated back in the 1800′s. Gooooo Heat!!!!!!!! 2011 NBA Champions! No Three peats, No Number 18th banner in Boston. Two time champions coming up!

      • Nick

        U sure u want a repeat of X-MAS day in L.A when ya’ll got dissembowled by the Big Miami 3? C’Mon dude get real… Even Lebron said this week that this isn’t going to be the year for the Heat to win it because Boston is a cut above. The Heat have accepted their place is in the future, when will u delusional Laker fans accept that urs is in the past?

    • lakers2000

      Nick is a fucking retard! How’s that work for you, douchbag?

      • Nick

        I’m gonna have to get my picture up here like u ya little homo, u don’t even know shit about hoops dude, shut ur pie-hole, and get ready to come to Boston for our 18th parade.

        • lakers2000

          Dream on junior.

          • FAKERS SUCK!!!

            hey, laker2000! Get your ugly pathetic face out of her….
            Please!!!!!

          • lakers2000

            You should respect your daddy, punk.

    • KeepTheFaith

      Troll go back to redsarmy.

  • Name Callers are Immature

    How do you guys feel calling each other names, feeding the trolls, trolling each other? What the hell is this insecurity so overwhelming for you that insulting one another gives you a hard-on and makes you feel better about yourself?

    I’m sure it shows what kind of courage and confidence you have to do this on the Internet, heh? LMAO. Get a life. Real people don’t hang around the ‘net all day.

    • lakers2000

      Stfu!

      • Name Callers are Immature

        STFU loser internet addict

        • lakers2000

          Funny. Like the pot calling the kettle black.. lol

          • Name Callers are Immature

            Have fun calling names and checking these forums all day. How tragic your life is. Hey, if the best you can do is live on this site, congratz. I’m off.

            Rednecks like you are so immature that you just can’t let go. Looking forward to your reply….. oops, not, cuz I waste life away on here.

  • Nick

    ANTONIO MCDYESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • KingJames6

      Gooooo Miami Heat! Bostons going down this year! Can’t contain the King! Wade will burn out Allen with his quickness, King James will make a thrown rug out of Paul’s broken down carcuss. And Bosh will eat Garnett alive in the paint because cripples can’t stay with fresher legs. Nick your team will be defeated this year! Better luck next time punk!

    • Kobe4Life

      NICKY THE QUEER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • lakersuk

        lakers suck

        • Kobe4Life

          Ahhhh nice comeback!!!!!!……..FAG!

          • daboss1848

            can we desist with the cigarette references?

    • laffs atu

      Where’s you’re ultimate tag team partner Big Dan “the Fag”. I though you both did everything together, mocking other people together like homo’s do. Boy will he be disapointed at you!

  • Nick

    lakers fucking suck, thats another loss u scabs, like I said, beat a good team then come talk 2 me. FEB 10, ur getting smashed again. All hail to the Western Conference Champs…. The Spurs!!

    • KingJames6

      Big three in Miami is where it’s at PUNK!

    • KingJames6

      Forget about the Lakers Nick, FEAR THE HEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Celtics will be scorched! Go Miami!

  • Al

    Trade three worst players on the team: Kobe, Artest and Fisher. Fire Phil.

  • LakeShow

    First kobe doesn’t get the charge on Parker & then basket interference. Conclusion Bull***t

    Still Lakers played like sh*t

  • Nate Mcmillian

    Well yet again my Laker brothers we lose again do to lack of rebounding ability. We are not I repeat are not going to 3peat unless there is some sort of trade. Ron abode Artest can’t shoot to save his life. I do not want to hear oh nothing to worry about its early in the season, we have not beaten one title contender this year not one. This is the only game where we even competed with a title contending team. We got blown out by Miami, Boston, and the Spurs the first time we played them. This team is a disgrace I do not even know what to say.

  • Laker4Life

    Lakers can’t do shit right now. I don’t care if it is early. Right now Lakers can’t beat any team unless they make a trade. Trade stupid ron, luke, and bynum for someone that can help us 3-peat.

  • Ronnie

    I don’t get why people are obsessed with bynum, we won 2 titles without him! This game should get the talks with Denver going: Bynum, artest, and 1st rounder for melo. It works because they get a future star, a first pick, and a player who will flourish in a different system (remember artest averaged 18 a game just 2 years ago) let’s get this trade going. We don’t need 2 seven footers.

  • Ronnie

    2 seven footers and a 6-10 guy and you can’t box out mcdumbass old guy? What’s the point of having size if you can’t box out in crunch time

  • lakers2000

    I’ll bet that not one of the punk ass hatred here will be on here when we repeat. This sucks but we will be laughing last for the third time in a row. Book it birches. Lakers now, Lakers forever!

  • Gugy

    The positive thing I can see out of this game is at least they put the effort to win the game and almost got it.
    Lakers just need to play with this attitude then the wins will start to pile up. It’s too early to freak out. We have a good team and they will get their mojo back.
    If they don’t, then plain and simple they will not deserve to 3peat.

  • Dragon

    Well at least it wasn’t a blow out it was a close one that shot could have gone either way but still someone should have put a body for the rebound why the hell we got two 7 footer’s for to let someone jump in there to tip it in. Well the only thing we have to hope for is play better on the second half of the season and win more games and beat the team we suppose to beat and at least beat one of those elite teams. Actually I’m not too upset with this lost I more upset with the lost against Celtics and Miami. Hopefully things will get better after allstar’s who knows maybe we’ll pick up some good trades.

  • Barracuda

    This Game should not have even come down to the last second…
    Fish, Blake & Brown were a pathetic 6 of 23 for 14 points…(and they call themselves professional B-ball players).

    I wonder if Brown has as much trouble “puttin it in the hole” with his new wife…(she probably has to help him).

    Blake’s turning out to be a bust…to bad I was really hoping he could give us some outside shooting.

    I am not expecting a lot of points out of the 3…But 6 of 23 Sh#%.

    • Heat Haterz

      Let me tell you why brotha,

      Brown needs to shoot at the peak of his jump, not just wait to release when he’s dropping.

      I had this problem for a while in my game as I work out a lot, causing my vertical to fluctuate radically. When I couldn’t jump due to soreness, I would shoot on my way down. When I learned to shoot at the peak of my jump, I started to shoot well again.

      Someone in the team needs to tell Brown to quit hanging in the air for so long! He’s not supposed to shoot on his way down. That drastically lowers accuracy!

      • Dragon

        Well Blake hasn’t really been providing us with the shooting and Shannon shooting has gone down hill I think lakers are always unlucky with getting a good shooter. Every time we bring in someone to shoot they end up performing terribly. Hopefully things will change or make some trades for someone else. I think Fisher should play off the bench what happen to lowering his minutes it seems like Blake is getting fewer minutes thank Fisher.

  • Heat Haterz

    No more excuses. The FACT is Lakers have yet to defeat a title contending team, excluding OKC and NOH, as those are generally not considered championship caliber.

    I want Melo to LA right now. I don’t care if Lakers lose “youth” in Bynum, Caracter, and Ebanks. It takes money to make money, and same for talent – most of the time it takes talent to trade for talent. The goal for the Lakers has always been to win NOW, not gamble on youngsters in hopes of winning in 10 years.

    Based on this goal, I say we trade for a superstar in Melo or Chris Paul now. This is Phil’s last year, so no excuse again for the triangle not needing a superstar PG. Seriously, I’m tired of the excuses. Get to the point and do what it takes to win. Lakers can always attract talent, young or proven, later on.

  • KeepTheFaith

    The Lakers lost. Get over it. The offense is not the problem people. It is the defense or the lack there of.

    • Barracuda

      Come on! Fish, Blake & Brown were a pathetic 6 of 23 for 14 points that’s 26.09% shooting AT HOME…and you say “the offense is not a problem”

  • gameplan

    damn it’s only odom getting beaten by older mcdyes in the rebound, after 20 rebounds the other games only six rebound today, typical odumb dumb, dumb, dumb!!!!!

  • Josh Herrington

    Its hard to have legitimate discussions on the way the Lakers played with so many useless comments. Marwan or Anna, honestly I don’t care, please filter out the comments because all it is, really, is trash.