The Los Angeles Lakers (9-13) have lost five of their last six games and head into tonight’s game with plenty of story lines surrounding it. It will be Mike D’Antoni’s return to Madison Square Garden nine months after resigning as head coach of the Knicks. Kobe Bryant and D’Antoni are starting to get frustrated with the play of Lakers, as seen in the postgame interviews following each loss the past few weeks. The problems the Lakers are going through have been covered ad nauseum here on LALakers101. Transition defense and turnovers are the Lakers’ achilles heel and the Knicks are a team that will make them pay for both mistakes. The Knicks are the oldest team in NBA history but their starting lineup can get up and down the court quicker and easier than the Lakers can.
Pau Gasol will miss his sixth straight game tonight but the Knicks will start a small lineup so the Lakers won’t miss Gasol’s height as much as previous games. As with Steve Nash, the Lakers will miss Gasol’s ability to shoot and space the floor. For Laker fans, watch the Knicks offense as it is the offense the Lakers are trying to run. The Knicks are a mirror image of the Lakers, a great point guard, a great perimeter shooter and a defensive-minded center. If the Lakers fail to get back on defense, turn the ball over 10-plus times, and if Bryant scores 30-plus points the Lakers will lose by 25+ points easily.
#15 World Peace SF #7 Anthony
#27 Hill PF #11 Brewer
#12 Howard C #6 Chandler
#24 Bryant SG #2 Felton
#21 Duhon PG #5 Kidd
Carmelo Anthony is the NBA’s second-leading scorer (27.7 ppg), behind Kobe Bryant (29.2), and is the leading candidate for the NBA MVP at this point in the season. He has a combination of size and shooting ability that is unmatched by anybody in the NBA. He showed in the Summer Olympics that he was poised to have a great year in New York. He had a down season last year as he clashed with then head coach Mike D’Antoni but has had a resurgent start to the season. This year he is averaging 27.7 points, 2.1 assists, and 6.6 rebounds per game. Metta World Peace needs to forget about scoring tonight and exert all his energy on the defensive end of the court. He needs to get in Anthony’s shirt and make him force shots to waste Knicks’ possessions as they are an extremely efficient shooting team.
The game tips-off at 5:00PM PT on TNT.
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