Lakers vs. 76ers Game Preview: Lakers Look To Win Two In A...

Lakers vs. 76ers Game Preview: Lakers Look To Win Two In A Row


USATSI_7594316_154224518_lowresThe 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

Lakers Nation Exclusive: VIP Viewing Party For Backstage: Lakers On Time Warner Cable SportsNet

  • Jim213

    Nine player roster today which includes Blake (game time decision), Hill, and S Williams. Farmar will sit out (precautionary) which allows Marshall more playtime @ (1). IMO, will be tough to pull out a win without Farmar and if Blake gets low minutes.

    • Gregory Choa

      According to Lakers beat reporter Mark Medina on twitter, Jordan Hill is a go for tonight’s contest…I hope Blake is able to gut it out – the team is SOooo much better with him on the court.

      • Chrmngblly

        Yes. I just hope Nash quits wasting everyone’s time. He can only go every other day. Nobody is counting on him anymore–(Does everybody notice that?)–we have all moved on. Why can’t he? My God, we could use his salary and roster spot.

        • Gregory Choa

          Why can’t you simply accept the fact that Steve is a sure-fire Hall of Famer who just turned 40 today and remains a class act through and through? Why can’t you also accept the fact that the final chapter of his storied career (over these last two seasons with the Lakers) has been derailed, through no fault of his own, by injuries that no one could’ve possibly anticipated? Show a little Lakers support, pride and humility, won’t ‘cha?

        • hookedonnews

          Did you see him play the other night? 9 assists & 7 points (shooting 50%) in 25 minutes on his first night back. They’re not going to bring anybody else in this season anyway, and he’s getting paid even if he retires. I haven’t moved on. Nash is one of the class guys in the league and he has worked his butt off to try and come back and help this team and earn his money. Have some respect.

          • Chrmngblly

            Well, I could have even more respect, pride and humility if the Lakers won another championship. Even Nash wouldn’t swell up too much over the numbers you just rehashed for us, hook. I revere the guy as a former great—as does anybody else. With no defense coming out of Nash, I would rather give Farmar or Blake those minutes. Wouldn’t you? Even Marshal. If Nash would retire at the end of the year, we wouldn’t have to pay him, would we? Who thinks that?

            Nash’s retirement would also clarify what has to be done with Pau. I would like to be able to bring Pau back at a reduced salary, if we can. If Nash really wants to help the Lakers, I am just saying…..He’s not really doing anything for us except eating up a highly disproportionate share of available player salary dollars. If you can avoid being overly sentimental, how do you really see it? Cold blood?

          • hookedonnews

            With the injury situation there are plenty of minutes for Blake and Farmar. They are also injury prone if you haven’t noticed. Marshall is also getting plenty of minutes. If you saw the game tonight you know that Nash looked good and was the leading scorer. You have a unique view of his salary. He signed a contract and is getting paid. I know that you think he should be a humanitarian and retire to free up money and cap space for the Lakers. When’s the last time you saw a player do that solely to benefit the organization? He’s playing well, he has a contract, and he wants to earn his money and help the team. It’s got nothing to do with sentiment. This team has not given up on the season. They want to win games, and Steve Nash can help them. Nash plays good team defense, at least that’s what I’ve heard a couple of NBA coaches, an NBA analyst, and James Worthy say. Nash isn’t taking time away from Blake and Farmar, and Marshall isn’t going to win any defensive awards himself. I don’t think Steve Nash is standing in the way of LA winning a championship, and right now I’m just enjoying watching him play.

          • Chrmngblly

            You should have seen him 15 years ago in his prime. Right now he’s not as good as Blake or Farmar, even though all the guys want him to do good. You know what team defense is right? That’s not the same as being able to defend your man, he’s way too slow for that. Is there any chance he could erupt for 40 next week? 30? 25?

            We are talking about a frail man. He only plays every other day, tops. The rest of the team is carrying the dude. If he finishes out the rest of the season without having to resort to the Robo-machine up in Vancouver, Canada, I will kiss my own ass, I will be that happy. Why are we paying him 5 times as much as the next point guard down the list?

            Do you notice that we don’t have a PF that comes across on the P&R like Amare Stoudemire used to in Phoenix? We don’t have one, that’s why. If we could free up some cap space and a roster spot maybe we could, though.

          • hookedonnews

            I did see him 15 years ago, and I know exactly how good he was. I don’t agree that he’s not as good as Blake or Farmar right now. They both turn the ball over more than he does at crucial times. Neither one of them has the passing ability, the court vision, the shooting skills, or the decision-making ability that he has. They have both missed a lot of time due to injury also. Blake missed more games last season than Nash. Yes, they’re better defensively. The fact is that we need all of them. Nash is not playing every other game. He is sitting out back-to-backs just like D-Wade, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan do. He has just come back and isn’t even in shape yet. Yes, he has a nerve problem and he’s not 25. But no one is carrying him. Have you actually seen the 2 games he’s played in? As I said before, he was the leading scorer last night, and made some great passes. Sacre, Kelly, and Kaman (and even Gasol) are capable of running P&Rs and have been doing it. No, they are not Stoudemire, but they’re a lot cheaper. Nash is not making 5 times as much as Blake. Farmar’s not making that much because we didn’t have the cap space to pay him any more & he wanted to come to LA. (Gasol’s overblown salary & Kobe’s big bucks are just as much a part of that as Nash and they’ve both been off the court with injuries, too.) They’re not looking to pick up anybody else this season. They’re looking beyond (my speculation) to 2015 when they could get Kevin Love and maybe Kyrie Irving or some other great player. Meanwhile Nash is playing well. I don’t know if he can stay on the court the rest of the year or not. I’m a fan, and I want to see him play. If you heard Grant Hill talking about him last night he was saying he was amazed he was playing so well after being out so long. He said it took him at least 10 games to get back in rhythm last season after being out. He also said that he brings something special to the locker room. Blake has already benefited from being around Nash. I’m sure Farmar and Marshall will do the same. I know you want a championship. We all do. But it’s not coming this season and chances are it’s not coming next because of Kobe’s massive contract and the amount of cap space left (unless LeBron decides to come to LA). It’s probably going to be at least 2015, and Steve Nash will be gone. I’m just hoping he can stay healthy and play out his contract. He can still contribute to this team, and I doubt that any one of his teammates would want him gone. Yes, I know what team defense is, and that is what makes a good defensive team. As far as individual defense goes, I’ve seen people blow by Blake and Farmar and just about every other player in the NBA. The defensive deficiencies of Steve Nash have not been a major factor in any loss we’ve suffered since he’s been in LA. Do you know why he’s not scoring big numbers? Because he’s unselfish, and he wants to involve his teammates. When he was with Phoenix and scored 48 points he was worried about not involving them enough. I heard someone talking about that just recently. He’s capable of scoring plenty of points. He’s just rarely looked to do that unless he’s forced into it.

          • Chrmngblly

            Well, I can see that you are a sincere Nash-lover. So am I. I am just thinking about ways to rebuild this team. Next year, we are not going to get any of those guys you mentioned; they are not unrestricted free agents and we do not have the chips to trade for them.

            At Nash’s best, none of our guards can touch him. I just don’t trust his health. I wish he was an assistant coach and could be in the locker room all the time.

            I think what will happen with the Lakers is they are not going to trade anybody–except Kaman and possibly Blake, Meeks or Farmar. We will see how well Nash plays, but we will also see how well Gasol plays. Gasol is getting better and better since he had those adult stem cells injected into his knees. Notice that. I don’t think they will trade him since there are only a few teams that can handle the $19M. He will walk at the end of the season, get a few offers and we will re-sign him at a reasonable price. Pau is a really good center when healthy, he just ruined his knees playing in the Olympics and not resting that one summer. We have to have a center, regardless, you know?

            I think they may try to work their magic enough to get Exum in the draft and I hope they are working overtime right now to snatch a couple diamonds out of the second round. So we are hurting most at the 4–but we have to get under the cap, too. So I think that 3/4 of Pau’s money and half of Nash’s chunk of change will do it–or they will trade or retire Nash altogether. Just looking to the future. We need picks and chips to make big trades with and we don’t have them.

          • hookedonnews

            I agree with a lot of what you said, but I would be surprised to see Blake, Meeks, or Farmar traded. Yes, I’m a Nash fan. He just adds something to the game that makes it more fun to watch. He’s such a good guy too, and you hate to see him disrespected by fans who should know better. Of course his health is a question. He’s working hard to be able to stay on the court, but there are no guarantees. I wish they had not thrown so much money at Kobe. I think he would have signed for a lot less than what they gave him. He had already made it clear he was going to stay. I just think as fans we have to be patient. It’s not going to turn around on a dime. It’s going to take time to get back to a championship level. I wish everybody could have stayed healthy this year so we could have seen just what this group of players can do. They started out better than expected before all the PGs went down. Gasol was just getting healthy when he went out with the groin. I’m glad I’m not the GM because I wouldn’t want to be the one making these decisions. I have my doubts that Gasol can stay healthy, and he’s not the best rim defender. I thought the FO did well bringing in players in the off-season with very little flexibility. These guys are not going to the Finals, but they have the makings of an above average bench. Now we just need to add some really good players to the mix. Right now I’d be happy just to have all our players back healthy for the rest of the season.

          • Chrmngblly

            It is a sad thing to see, but we have nothing, no draft picks at all for the next 5 years. We way overpaid for Nash. Then the Howard fiasco. Jim Buss could not afford to let D12 walk — why did he? Hubris.

          • hookedonnews

            We have a good draft pick this season. Of course, I don’t agree about the deal for Nash. If he hadn’t broken his leg he could probably have played at a high level for 3 years or maybe longer They also didn’t expect the team to be decimated by injuries the last 2 seasons where they would be in a position to get a high draft pick this season. Historically they haven’t had that many high draft picks. I think they let Howard walk because they couldn’t get what they wanted for him, and they preferred to have the cap space for a top free agent.

          • Chrmngblly

            You are kidding me, aren’t you? They didn’t LET Howard walk–he spit in our faces on his way out the door. JB offered him $20 Million more than Houston and he still walked. Jim Buss could not stop Howard from fleeing. You get that, right?

            So many teams would have given an arm for a half-year’s chance at Howard. For anyone to bet the franchise and lose like we did is crazy. It seems bizarre to me that they put MDA and Howard together on the same planet in their brains to begin with. Unclear, wishful thinking on JB’s part. Damn him to hell.

          • hookedonnews

            What did you expect Buss to do–tie Howard up and waterboard him until he agreed to sign with the Lakers? He didn’t want to be in LA to begin with, and he didn’t want to play with Kobe. If they had amnestied Kobe like he wanted maybe he would have stayed, but I doubt that you would have agreed with that strategy. Howard is playing on a team that plays D’Antoni’s system. He’s a moron. I think he believed that Houston had a better core of young players that gave him a better chance of winning. I believe that it was worth the risk to bring Howard in, but it was by no means certain that he would stay.

          • Chrmngblly

            No kidding, hook. It was after the Lakers family had a first hand look at who Howard was as a man that experienced management would have decided to either make him commit and sign or trade him at the deadline. It was not just about Howard, who I despise, but everything we had to give and everything we had to go through and endure to get him.

            As far as him not wanting to play with Kobe, too bad. Kobe is a fierce competitor and in a team sport, he demands that his team mates do the work necessary to win. There are way more players who want to play with Kobe than want to play with Howard. To me, that’s part of the test. Howard does not have the heart of a champion and is not someone the Lakers could ever build a franchise around. That was clear as a bell before the trade deadline. Jim Buss, blinded by his own ego, failed to see that and act accordingly.

            Everyone is playing MDA’s system, or their flavor of it, nowadays. That system is actually just a mathematical consequence of the last time they moved the three point line. In fact, it was the reason they moved the three point line, if you remember. They wanted to open up the game and speed it up. Howard deluded himself into thinking that McHale was going to run things through him, Howard, because McHale is a “fellow big man”. Also, to be fair to Houston, their owner is a man of accomplishment and therefore a lot more solid and reassuring to deal with than the lost, child of the 70’s the Lakers have at their helm. The personal magnetism of Jim Buss could not keep Howard aboard even with the extra $20M the Lakers offered. Gofigure.

            In answer to your original question, I expected the Lakers to trade Howard at the deadline.

          • hookedonnews

            As I said, I think they explored making a trade but couldn’t get what they wanted for him, preferring the cap space to trading for someone they really didn’t want. I heard they were trying to make a deal with Houston. They offered Asik and Lin. The Lakers wanted Chandler Parsons, but they wouldn’t go for it. Lin & Asik both have big contracts, and I wouldn’t have made that trade either They want more elite players, and there weren’t any available via trade. Now you can debate about whether that was the right move, but at the time some people agreed with the strategy and some (like you) didn’t. I’m sure they hoped Howard would stay. He’s so notoriously unable to make up his mind they probably thought they had a shot to keep him. I’m glad he’s gone even though he’s a good player. He’s not worth the headaches and the nonsense. I’ve got a low tolerance for divas.

  • LakersHeatBeef

    Lakers just gotta win.

    Go Lakers Go!

  • LakersHeatBeef

    Proving ground tonight.