Who: Los Angeles Lakers vs Charlotte Bobcats
What: NBA Basketball – Home Game
When: 10:30 PM ET
Where: Live at Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
|Los Angeles Lakers||16-30||101.1 (21)||106.2 (26)||99.5 (3)|
|Charlotte||20-27||98.0 (27)||101.2 (7)||95.1 (21)|
Los Angeles Lakers: Pau Gasol (Probable), Steve Blake (OUT), Xavier Henry (OUT), Jordan Farmar (OUT), Kobe Bryant (OUT)
Charlotte: Kemba Walker (Questionable), Jeffery Taylor (OUT), Brendan Haywood (OUT)
|PG||Kendall Marshall||Kemba Walker|
|SG||Jodie Meeks||Gerald Henderson|
|SF||Wesley Johnson||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist|
|PF||Ryan Kelly||Josh McRoberts|
|C||Pau Gasol||Al Jefferson|
|6th Man||Nick Young||Ramon Sessions|
1- The Lakers are one of the worst defenses in the league and have been serious reeling on this end recently – 110.7 (-4.5) defensive rating in the past 5 games. Pau Gasol is probable tonight, but does he have a shot at guarding Al Jefferson?
Spencer: Sure, Gasol has a chance at guarding Jefferson and making life tough on him tonight. That being said, Charlotte needs to go right at that matchup early on – it’s hard to imagine the Lakers being able to pull this one off if Jefferson was able to somehow get Gasol in foul trouble early on. Needless to say, I don’t believe in Jordan Hill and Robert Sacre ability to limit Big Al.
Greg: The Lakers have actually been slightly worse on defense with Pau on the floor, and in general give up good looks at the rim: They lead the league in opponent attempts in the restricted area. Jefferson (and the rest) should be able to penetrate the defense and get more point-blank looks than usual, which only helps.
Michael: Even with Gasol in the lineup, expect big Al Jefferson to put up some points. The Lakers’ defense is highly questionable, especially on the inside, so Jefferson should have every opportunity to go off. A perceived all-star snub could work to add some additional fuel to Jefferson’s proverbial fire, not that he needs any. Jefferson has been averaging 26.9 points per over the Bobcats’ past ten games, and similar production should be expected tonight against the Lakers’ porous defense.
Dakota: I really don’t think Gasol can be able to handle Jefferson in 1-on-1 scenarios which will ultimately help the Bobcats because LA is extremely weak in the frontcourt. While Charlotte hasn’t been solid from the perimeter, they should do fine against the Lakers since LA will spend the majority of the game trying to figure out a way to stop Jefferson.
2- Outside of Big Al, who’s the key player for the Bobcats in order to get out of Staples with a win?
Spencer: Ramon Sessions. Although Kendall Marshall has been a pleasant surprise for the Lakers since garnering the starting PG role, he certainly hasn’t helped them much defensively. This is a matchup that Sessions should be able to exploit – there’s really no reason Ramon shouldn’t be able to get past Marshall on the bounce tonight, and you know what that leads to – yup, lots of trips to the foul line.
Greg: They need Gerald Henderson to pick up the scoring slack without Kemba Walker, but he’s struggled a bit over the last 10 games. He’s still scoring at a decent clip (14.7 ppg) but he’s shooting under 40 percent from the field and 25 percent from behind the line. His saving grace has been at the free throw line, where he’s averaging 5.3 attempts per game. Over that same 10-game stretch, the team is 4-1 when he scores at least 15 points, and 1-4 when he doesn’t.
Michael: Ramon Sessions needs to continue his solid play in Kemba’s absence for the ‘Cats tonight. As noted, the Lakers defense isn’t the best, and if Sessions can initiate the Bobcats offense well then the team could capitalize. Sessions needs to provide a perimeter compliment to Jefferson’s post presence to help keep that shaky defense honest and spaced out. Sessions will spend a lot of time matched up with the inexperienced Kendall Marshall, and his ability to control the game from the point guard position will go a long way in helping the ‘Cats claim a victory.
Dakota: As previously mentioned, the combination of Sessions and Henderson are going to be crucial if Charlotte is looking for a victory. Since Kemba went down, Sessions has averaged 14.2 PPG and 6.0 APG with a solid 53.2% TS%. Meanwhile, Henderson has been struggling with Kemba’s absence but you could definitely turn it around tonight since he has constantly been solid against the Lakers.
3- PICK IT. Big opportunity for Charlotte tonight. Who ya got?
Spencer: Charlotte. Here’s me hoping that the Bobcats can go on the road in a very winnable game and make a statement to the rest of the east that they will not roll over and die as we approach the second half of the season.
Note: There’s a slight chance that Kemba returns tonight, but my gut tells me they’ll wait until at least tomorrow, if not Tuesday in Golden State.
Greg: I don’t think these two teams are that far off in terms of talent, and you could give L.A. the edge just because of their home court and an extra day of rest. But I like this matchup, and think Charlotte ekes out a win tonight.
Michael: I see the Bobcats taking advantage of an opportunity and getting a rare road win in L.A. tonight. The Lakers don’t have a real answer for Jefferson down low, especially if Gasol sits, and if a couple other Bobcats can contribute on the offensive end it will give them an edge. Limit Nick ‘Swaggy P’ Young’s output, and Charlotte should be in position to get another W.
Dakota: While Charlotte has been mediocre since the start of the New Year, the Lakers are on an awful stretch which has put them in the cellar of the Western Conference.With that said, I definitely have the Bobcats taking care of the Lakers as they try to keep their hold on to the 8th seed in the East.