The Lakers finally got back on the winning track on Wednesday when they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-108. It was their first win in the last seven games, and came in controversial fashion; at one point the Lakers only had four eligible players active due to attrition and foul trouble. Sacre was allowed to play even though he had fouled out and the Lakers were assessed a technical.
Despite their injury woes the Lakers will try to win their second game in a row in Philadelphia tonight, as they take on the 76ers. The Lakers injury bug just continues to bounce around the roster, and Nick Young was the latest victim; he will be out at least two weeks after suffering an apparent knee injury in the first half against the Cavaliers.
It’ll take another team effort to get the job done tonight, we’ll see if they are up to the task.
The 76ers have pretty decent talent in their frontcourt. Thaddeus Young is the premier big in their front court. He rebounds very well, and uses his athleticism to make big plays on both the offensive and defensive end. Spencer Hawes compliments both guys at the center position. He doesn’t demand the ball offensively and does all the little things such as playing with energy, blocking shots, and being a reliable option offensively when needed.
With no Gasol in the lineup, and the possibility of there being no Jordan Hill, it’s going to take a big effort from guys like Robert Sacre and Wesley Johnson to match-up with the 76ers front line.
The Philadelphia backcourt is spearheaded by the rookie sensation Michael Carter-Willams. Carter-Williams is one of the modern day big guards that can handle the ball and use their strength and athleticism to make plays for themselves as well as others. At shooting guard they start Evan Turner, he’s grown over the years as a basketball player and is capable of playing multiple positions and impacting the game in different facets.
The big guard lineup has the potential to be very bothersome for the Lakers tonight. So it’s going to be important that guys help each other out on the defensive end, as Turner and Carter-Williams are both capable of having big nights.
Keys To Lakers Victory:
Bench: We saw against the Cavaliers how important the second unit is for the Lakers. What they were able to do in limited numbers was the key to their victory, and they are going to need a performance similar to that if they are going to be successful tonight. Guys like Chris Kaman and Kendall Marshall came in and gave much needed sparks off the bench. If the second unit can’t come in and provide a much needed lift, then we may be looking at another long night in this disappointment of a season.
Transition Defense: The 76ers are young, and have speed and athleticism. The Lakers need to do their best in forcing them to take long jump shots, or contested threes, because if they don’t, they’ll get out in transition and convert on easy baskets. The last thing the Lakers want is to allow the 76ers to run against them. The Lakers have limited bodies and the 76ers are one of the youngest and most athletic teams in the NBA.
Sustained Effort: The Lakers effort was nonexistent over the last seven games until they defeated the Cavaliers. They will need to make an extra effort to secure defensive rebounds, dive after loose balls and hustle back on defense. Effort has been particularly lacking on defense and hopefully the Lakers are up to the task tonight. From a talent perspective the Lakers actually match-up quite well with the 76ers so focus and effort will be the deciding factors tonight.
Heading into tonight’s game, the Lakers are +4 against the 76ers via Sportsbook
Los Angeles Lakers (17-32) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (15-35)
4:00 p.m. PST, February 7, 2014
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: ESPN Radio 710 ESPNLA
76ers Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Michael Carter-Williams
SG: Evan Turner
SF: James Anderson
PF: Thaddeus Young
C: Spencer Hawes
Key Reserves: SG Elliot Williams , PF Brandon Davies SF Hollis Thompson
Lakers Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Steve Nash
SG: Steve Blake
SF: Wesley Johnson
PF: Jordan Hill
C: Robert Sacre
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