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.
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
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- San Antonio: My35 (Bill Land & Sean Elliott)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- San Antonio: WOAI-AM 1200 (Bill Schoening)
- Matt Barnes (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Right Knee) Out
- Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Doubtful
- Andrew Bynum (Bone Bruise Knee) Questionable
- PF Matt Bonner (Sore Right Knee) Questionable