The Los Angeles Lakers (8-10) are on a two-game losing streak heading into tonight’s matchup with the New Orleans Hornets (5-11). After last night’s loss in Houston, Los Angeles is 1-5 on the road this season. The Lakers were in control of the game last night, but once again could not finish it out. When the game clock hit 4:00 in the fourth quarter, the Lakers stopped playing, giving the Rockets an opportunity to come back and win. Tonight, the Lakers take on a team with considerably less talent but none the less, every Laker must give 100% in order to get a much needed win.
The Lakers problems start on defense but end with Kobe Bryant. Bryant is shooting the ball too much. It seems he’s using Steve Nash’s injury to justify taking over and forcing shots. Los Angeles becomes predictable down the stretch as defenses know Kobe will take all the shots for the Lakers in the last three to five minutes. He must keep faith in D’Antoni’s offense in the final minutes and share the ball.
The Hornets are a very young and inexperienced team but the Lakers have proven that no win is guaranteed this season. If the game is close, expect New Orleans coach Monty Williams to employ the “Hack-a-Howard” strategy. However, like D’Antoni says Howard is not the problem, it’s the Lakers lack of effort on defense, and nothing will change until Los Angeles starts communicating on defense.
#15 World Peace SF #0 Aminu
#4 Jamison PF #33 Anderson
#12 Howard C #15 Lopez
#24 Bryant SG #8 Mason
#1 Morris PG #21 Vasquez
Key Matchup – Antawn Jamison vs. Ryan Anderson
If Antawn Jamison continues to play well in place of Pau Gasol, it may force GM Mitch Kupchak to trade Gasol away. Last night, Jamison put up 15 points and 9 rebounds in a loss at Houston. He is aggressive in getting to the hoop and can shoot from the outside, unlike Gasol. Jamison is averaging 11.1 points and 5.9 rebounds in his last 10 games, which is just under what Gasol is averaging on the season. It seems Jamison is on his way up, and Pau is on his way down in terms of production. Ironically, Time Leggler of ESPN told Collin Cowherd this morning that trading Gasol for a player like Ryan Anderson would be perfect for the Lakers.
Anderson is a big body (6-9, 240) that with a range, shooting 47% from the field and 42% from three-point land this season. He is in his 4th year out of Cal, and he has improved in points and rebounding every year since being drafted. Jamison can defend in the post and around the perimeter so it should be a great matchup to watch.
The game tips-off at 5:00PM PT and can be seen on TWC SportsNet. Watch Kobe Bryant’s point-total as he is just 13 shy of the 30,000 point mark.
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