In the rematch of the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers dispatched the Suns… again. The Lakers multiple championship ring possessing big three Kobe, Pau and Lamar lead the team to the first road win of the year. In the process, Phil Jackson became the fifth coach to win 1,100 games. He also accomplished that feat faster than the other four.
The surprising thing is that both teams come into this game undefeated; that will change tonight. As expected, the Lakers starters are consistently getting the job done, but the story has really been the reserves. Shannon Brown and Steve Blake are displaying an excellent combination of playmaking ability, timely outside shooting and solid all-around play. The reserves look solid, but the scary thing is to think that everyone can and will play better.
The Warriors will be without Stephen Curry tonight, one of the best young point guards in the league. A huge part of the scoring load will be on Monta Ellis who has already posted a 46 point night. The Warriors are another team that wants to get out in transition and run up and down the floor. Golden State can score and are once again one of the highest scoring teams in the league.
They have a long and athletic front line with new additions David Lee and Dorell Wright teaming with Andres Biedrins. Wright was a bit of a bust in Miami and is currently getting a chance to shine in the bay area. The trio is averaging 43.5 points, however I have a feeling that the above mentioned average will decrease tonight.
The Lakers defense needs to improve and do a better job of communicating. It is imperative that L.A. controls the tempo of the game, the paint, gets back in transition, limit the Warriors to one shot per possession and rotate out to three point shooters.
The Lakers have the size advantage and need to attack the Warriors defense in the painted area. The Lakers are a rhythm team and once the front court gets into a rhythm ,they’ll begin to dominate. I’m expecting the front line of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest to post a double-double night with 46-55 points and over 30 rebounds.
The reserves are producing and providing a lot of rest for the starters. It is extremely early, but the Lakers have the talent on the bench that can average 30–40 points per night. In 2008 the Lakers reserves were the highest scoring reserves in the league. The 2010 version is deeper, more talented and far more productive.
Kobe Bryant’s minutes are being limited to a certain extent, but lets be honest is it surprising anyone that the Black Mamba is going to find a way to beat whoever is in front of him? The Lakers movement of the ball and personnel as well as execution down the stretch will lead them to a 3-0 record.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
• Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
• Golden State: CSN Bay (Jim Barnett & Bob Fitzgerald)
• Los Angeles: KABC 790 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
• Golden State: KNBR 680 (Tim Roye)
• Luke Walton (Hamstring) Listed as Day-to-Day
• Andrew Bynum (Knee) Out
• PG Stephen Curry (Sprained Ankle) Out