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Game Preview: Los Angeles Lakers Host Charlotte Bobcats; Pau Gasol Returns to Starting Lineup

December 18th, 2012 at 2:01 PM
By Brandon Duran

'Charlotte Bobcats' photo (c) 2009, Mike - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
The Los Angeles Lakers (11-14) are looking to push their win streak to three games tonight against the visiting Charlotte Bobcats (7-16). The Lakers are coming off their best two games in weeks, with two road wins over Washington and Philadelphia. Pau Gasol will return to action tonight after missing over two weeks with tendinitis in his knees. Gasol will start tonight as coach Mike D’Antoni will try to match the big and athletic lineup of Charlotte. SF Devin Ebanks, who started the past two games, is averaging only 3.8 points, 0.8 assists, and 2.5 rebounds per game but his insertion to the starting lineup pumped some life into the first five. Chris Duhon has settled in nicely as starting point guard and is coming off one of his best games of the season against Philly. It looks like Duhon will have the starting job for at least one more week as Steve Nash is eyeing a return to the court on Christmas Day. Dwight Howard is averaging a double-double but hasn’t had a big game in three weeks so look for Howard to get increased touches against Byron Mullens tonight.

The Bobcats, who are on a 11-game losing streak, have six players that average double figures in points but have a very weak bench.  PG Ramon Sessions will return to Staples Center six months after leaving Los Angeles as a free agent. The Lakers have had trouble this season with athletic point guards, so stopping a streaky Kemba Walker from getting going will be the focus defensively. If Los Angeles continues to shoot like they have the past two games, they will outscore Charlotte easily and come away with a W.

Probable Starters

#15 World Peace             SF          #14 Kidd-Gilchrist            

#3 Gsasol            PF          #0 Biyombo        

#12 Howard       C            #22 Mullens      

#24 Bryant         SG         #9 Henderson  

#21 Duhon         PG         #15 Walker

Key Matchup – Chris Duhon vs. Kemba Walker

In the Lakers win over Philly on Sunday Chris Duhon had 14 points and 4 assists. He shot 4 of 10 from three-point territory but he needs to cut down on shooting from the outside. He likes to catch and shoot from three point land line but he sets up too far behind the line, usually jacking up shots from 25+ feet out. The Lakers won’t need many points from Duhon tonight, instead he’ll be responsible for stopping “King Kemba” Walker. Walker can get to the basket easily and pull up for a shot on a dime. Duhon needs to stay in front of Walker, preventing him from getting to the hoop. Walker will inevitably get past Duhon, so help defense from Dwight Howard and the returning Pau Gasol will be key.

The game tips-off at Staples Center tonight at 7:30PM PT on TWC SportsNet/Deportes and ESPNLA 710.

Tags: Basketball, Chris Duhon, Devin Ebanks, Dwight Howard, ESPN, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Pau Gasol, Staples Center, Steve Nash, World Peace

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