The loss in Houston last night pushed the Lakers (15-19) losing streak to four games. To make matters worse, they are without they’re three top big men, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Jordan Hill, for the foreseeable future. Tonight they move west along the 10 freeway into San Antonio to face the Spurs (27-10), who are 17 games above .500.
The lack of size hurt Los Angeles last night as they pulled down only 37 rebounds, well under their season average of 45.6 per game. The injuries forced a few bench players to step up and play minutes they normally wouldn’t. Rookie Robert Sacre, who will start for the second straight game, held his own, putting up 10 points and 3 rebounds. Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark, who both played 20+ minutes, will need to have better production tonight as the Spurs field a deep frontcourt of Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, and DeJaun Blair. Kobe Bryant, who had an off shooting night last night, tried playing facilitator in last night’s loss. Tonight, Bryant needs to score in bunches to put some pressure on the Spurs. The Lakers will again need to share the ball and play tough defense on the veteran Spurs or it will be a blowout.
The San Antonio Spurs are an experienced team that is unselfish and extremely efficient. The Spurs are deep and score a 104+ points per game. The Spurs play great defense and have three future Hall-of-Famers on their team. Simply put, the Spurs are better than the Lakers. The Spurs are led by Tony Parker who is having a career year, averaging 19.1 points, 7.2 assists, and 3.1 rebounds a game. He will be matched-up with Steve Nash tonight in a clash between two of the best point guards of the past decade.
Tonight's game will be the second game between the two teams this season. The first was won by the San Antonio Spurs back on November 13 with a late, game-winning three by Danny Green.
Los Angeles will need to play complete basketball to avoid losing five straight for the first time in almost two years. Even in a loss, the Lakers must create some semblance of momentum going into Friday night’s matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The game tips-off at 5:00PM PT on ESPN.
#24 Bryant SF #2 Leonard
#15 World Peace PF #21 Duncan
#50 Sacre C #22 Splitter
#1 Morris SG #20 Green
#10 Nash PG #9 Parker
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