The Los Angeles Lakers (15-21) have failed to win a game in 2013. After another blow-out loss to Oklahoma City on Friday, the Lakers’s losing streak was pushed to six games for the first time in six years. Los Angeles is beat up and are seriously lacking in frontcourt size. Fortunately, they face the Cleveland Cavaliers (9-29) tonight, a team that is undersized as a result of the recent injury to their leading big man, Anderson Varejao.
Despite being without Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Jordan Hill, the Lakers have been playing well on offense. They have scored 100 or more points in five of their last six game, but have also given up 100 or more points in their last six games, the reason they have lost six straight. Los Angeles has held their opponent to under 100 points only 8 times (out of 36 games) this season. Teams aren’t just breaking 100 in the final seconds of the game, the Lakers have given up 107 points to the Clippers, 112 to Denver, 125 to Houston, 108 to San Antonio, and 116 to Oklahoma City during this current losing streak. Instead of defending and getting stops, the Lakers are trying to outscore teams and it's affecting their shooting efficiency. During the losing streak, the Lakers are shooting just under 29% from behind the three point line. They may have the talent, but the Lakers are not shooting as well as they should. To offset the low-post loss, Kobe Bryant has been forced to play more minutes, averaging 40.5 minutes per game. Once again, defense will be key in ending the Lakers streak tonight.
Without the services of Varejao, the Cavaliers are relying heavily on second-year point guard, Kyrie Irving. Irving, who had a hot start to the season, suffered a fractured wrist which kept him out of action for 10 games earlier in the season. The extremely talented guard has returned to form and is playing efficient basketball, shooting 47% from the field in January. Cleveland is young and athletic, the type of team that the Lakers don’t like to play. The Cavs don’t score many points collectively, but if Steve Nash doesn’t lock down Irving, the speedy-guard can get hot quickly.
#15 World Peace SF #33 Gee
#6 Clark PF #13 Thompson
#50 Sacre C #40 Zeller
#24 Bryant SG #0 Miles
#10 Nash PG #2 Irving
The game tips-off at 6:30PM PT at Staples Center on TWC SportsNet and ESPNLA 710.
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