The (17-7) Los Angeles Lakers are in the the nation’s capital to re-unite with the president for the second year in a row and face the (6-16) Washington Wizards.
The Purple and Gold spent Monday afternoon meeting with President Obama and at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington in a classroom amidst several smiling kids.
The Lakes are 2-1 on their current road trip. The good news is that Andrew Bynum will make his season debut tonight after missing the team’s first 24 games. That loud sigh of relief you just heard was from Pau Gasol.
The return of Bynum means that the Lakers rotation will return to some sort of normalcy. Hopefully, it will also mean to the officials that Pau Gasol is a two-time NBA champion and an All-Star big man who should be receiving a lot of trips to the free throw line. Pau has been banged around for the past eight games with very few if any fouls called.
The Lakers opponents have employed a ‘beat up Pau’ philosophy, teams have kept a body on him, shoved him around, have roughed him up and given him little to no freedom of movement. Gasol is getting a little frustrated. He will have to take matters into his own hands and attack the rim early and often and force the officials to make the call.
The Lakers won ugly in New Jersey with a strong finish after another slow sluggish start. For the Lakers, it’s really all about their defense, energy and execution. They have appeared to be in need of a collective B-12 shot. It’s always great to get a win and it is a known fact that as the defending world champions, you are going to receive every teams best shot.
However, it is alarming to see the Lakers struggle against lowly teams like the Clippers and Nets. They’ve once again experienced poor shooting; their reserves outscored and surrendered a staggering 26 points in the paint. It is imperative that the Lakers muster up the energy, motivation and mental toughness that we all know the Lakers have, to jump on teams put up a lead, execute down the stretch to either maintain or extend said lead.
Kobe Bryant will set the tone early and force the Wizards to pick their poison of seeing the black mamba in attack mode or noticing him setting the table for his teammates. This writer wants to see the Lakers front line to control the painted area, the boards and out-work the Wizards.
The Lakers need to control the tempo of the game; use excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to find a high percentage shot and stop relying of three-point shots. Defensively they have to stop the dribble penetration of the guards, do a good job defending the screen and roll plays and quickly rotate out to open shooters.
The Purple and Gold need to take better care of the basketball and get back in transition to avoid allowing easy baskets for the Wizards. The Wizards have a guard orientated offensive and the Lakers have to play solid defense and limit the impact of guards John Wall, Nick Young and Gilbert Arenas.
This writer wants to see energy, ball movement and the Lakers challenging every shot as well as limiting the Wizards to one shot per possession.
Tip-off: 4:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Washington, DC: Comcast SportsNet (Steve Buckhantz & Phil Chenier)
- Los Angeles: ESPN 710 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Washington, DC: Sportsradio 106.7 FM (Dave Johnson & Glen Consor)
- Theo Ratliff ( Left Knee) Out
- Andrew Bynum (Right Knee) Doubtful