Lakers vs. Bobcats Game Preview: Lakers Look For First Win Since Kobe’s Return Reviewed by Momizat on . The Charlotte Bobcats are a much improved team from a season ago, evidenced last night by losing a close game in Indiana against the Pacers, who sport the leagu The Charlotte Bobcats are a much improved team from a season ago, evidenced last night by losing a close game in Indiana against the Pacers, who sport the leagu Rating: 0
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Lakers vs. Bobcats Game Preview: Lakers Look For First Win Since Kobe’s Return

Kobe Bryant focusedThe Charlotte Bobcats are a much improved team from a season ago, evidenced last night by losing a close game in Indiana against the Pacers, who sport the league’s best record.  The Bobcats have been the epitome of a poor team the last two seasons, as they finished with a 21-61 record last year and then a mere 7 wins (7-59 record in the lockout shortened season) the previous season. However, under first-year head coach Steve Clifford, the Bobcats have already reached the double digit win mark and have rededicated  themselves on the defensive end and currently rank second in the league in opponent’s points per game. Clifford, interestingly enough, was a Lakers’ assistant last season under Mike D’Antoni. The Lakers come into the game fresh off a blowout loss in Oklahoma City last night.

Frontcourt: Free agent acquisition Al Jefferson is the key in the frontcourt for Charlotte. Jefferson has been hobbled by injuries throughout the season, but when healthy he remains one of the best scorers on the low block in the league. Jefferson has a soft touch and has an array of moves in the post, which is becoming more and more of a rarity among big men. Jefferson is shooting a career low 44% from the field, but this can be more attributed to his injuries thus far than anything else. With numerous big men having career-type nights against Pau Gasol recently, Pau must be ready to play on the defensive end against Jefferson.

With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out for at least six weeks, the Bobcats frontcourt is not up to par talent-wise with many teams in the league . However, former Laker Josh McRoberts is quietly having a solid season. McRoberts is one of the best passing big men in the league (4.1 assists per game) and fills his role nicely. He is more suited for a reserve role on a contending team, but he has done a good job filling in on a young Bobcat team.

Backcourt: The scoring punch on the Bobcats comes from their backcourt. Kemba Walker, most well-known for his starring role in the University of Connecticut’s title run in 2011, is the leading scorer at 17 points per game. Walker struggles with his efficiency (38.4% from the field this year), but he is one of the quickest guards in the league and can get into the paint at will. With the Lakers lack of a single point guard at the moment, Walker could potentially be a nightmare match-up for the Lakers. The Lakers have to try and get the ball out of his hands on pick-and-rolls and force him to beat them from the three-point line.

Gerald Henderson is the starting two-guard for Charlotte. Henderson, like Walker, is struggling with his efficiency thus far. Henderson is very athletic, and he and Walker will be dangerous in the open court against this aging Lakers team. Ramon Sessions is another former Laker as well as another quick guard that figures to be a thorn in the Lakers’ side tonight. Sessions thrives at getting into the paint, and the Lakers have to play him in a similar way to Walker.

Keys to Lakers Victory:  
Limit Turnovers: With a lack of a point guard, the Lakers have a tough task ahead of them in running Coach D’Antoni’s system, which is predicated on screen-roll and penetration-and-kick to open shooters. Kobe has struggled with turnovers since his return, and he figures to be handling the ball most of the time when he’s in the game. The Lakers have to aim to have 14 turnovers or less because against a younger, more athletic Bobcats team, turnovers will lead to easy baskets.

Contain Penetration: Containing the penetration of Walker and Sessions is critical to a Lakers victory tonight. However, both point guards struggle with consistency on their outside shots. The Bobcats have a tough time generating offense at only 90.5 points per game (second to last in the league), so ensuring that both point guards have to earn their points from the outside rather than at the rim is of the utmost importance.

Three-Point Makes: Much of the Lakers’ success early in the season came from their ability to hit from the three-point line. They still sit atop the league in three-pointers made, but since Kobe Bryant’s return the Lakers haven’t been able to play the penetrate-and-kick style that generated so many open looks. Kobe’s ball dominating style hasn’t meshed with the younger Laker players, which the Lakers must fix if they want to improve.  

Los Angeles Lakers  (10-12) vs. Charlotte Bobcats (10-13)
4:00 PM PST, December 14, 2013
Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: ESPN
Radio 710 ESPNLA

Bobcats Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Gerald Henderson
SF: Jeff Taylor
PF: Josh McRoberts
C: Al Jefferson

Key Reserves: PF Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, Ramon Sessions

Lakers Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Kobe Bryant
SG: Jodie Meeks
SF: Wesley Johnson
PF: Jordan Hill
C: Pau Gasol

Game Day Notes: Possibility Of Pau Trade Due To Recent Comments
Lakers News: Kobe Bryant Says He’s ‘Not Ready’ To Increase Minutes

About The Author

My name is Max Piner and I am currently a graduate student in the sport management program at Long Beach State University. I am also currently a sales coordinator for luxury transportation company Lux Bus America. I did my undergraduate studies at Chapman University in Orange, California where I was a business administration major as well as a four year member of the men's basketball team. I am originally from Northridge, California where I attended Chaminade High School in West Hills. Lastly, writing and basketball are my two passions, and as a lifelong Lakers fan I am very excited to be a contributing member to Lakers Nation.

Number of Entries : 46
  • Gregory Choa

    Well, if there was ever an opportunity to right the ship, this should be it. Apparently Farmar’s recovery is way ahead of schedule, which is at least some good news for the Lakers.

    • Paytc

      That is the reason I circled Dec. 20th as a good return date for Kobe. I even suggested it to a person who’s in contact with Kobe and asked him to Pass the word to him. The Dec 20th date would have given Kobe enough time to get a few game reps (before the Heat matchup) while only traveling on the West coast for games which would have been easiest on his body as he works to get back into playing form. Not to mention it would have avoided OKC until Kobe was ready to play more minutes at a high enough level IMO. But the injuries to all 3 PG’s may have forced him back sooner anyway?

      What is done is done. We now must win the more winnable games coming up, and get a healthy roster of capable players. I got a feeling they will make an adjustment here or there to right the ship. We are still very much in the playoff hunt ,but we have to get healthy and in sink to roll into the playoffs with some momentum and confidence.

      Go Lakers !

  • DP

    The Lakers are terrible.Only a delusional Lakers would think the Lakers are doing great as a team.The Lakers suck this season.Mike D’Antoni is the ass of the NBA a total joke of a coach.Lakers coach is a piece of crap coach and he is the downfall of the Lakers.Stop acting like the Lakers are a good team meant to win games that is not too smart.This team has old men playing key positions,Kobe,Gasol,Nash,Blake,Kaman all old washed up players.

    The Lakers need a injection of youth some young players to carry the load this team needs to rebuild worse than you might think.Lakers are a old team with no future superstar on it and paying Kobe all that money just confirmed the Lakers Front Office is very gullible and naive they are just to lost in translation to understand any good basketball decisions.

    Actually Lakers fans are not stupid enough to keep on paying top prices for tickets just too watch a old gimpy Kobe Bryant score 4-12 points a game the fans will wake up to the fact Kobe Bryant is no longer worth watching and he is just a old memory in Lakers lore.Kobe Bryant was one of the best ever but then again so was Michael Jordan and i don’t see Jordan playing in the NBA.

    I would love to see the Lakers just lose 50 of their 60 games left.The Lakers as a team play horrible defense and grab very little rebounds.Mike Antoni teaches no defense and rebounding is non existent.Teams are outrebounding the pathetic frontcourt by 20 rebounds.

    So 10-50 would be suffering but it would be repaid at the end with a top 3 lottery pick.I would love Andrew Wiggins to be drafted by the Lakers or even Jabari Parker would help the Lakers in rebuilding much quicker and much better.Lakers look like they are in tank mode from watching the last few games.

    Also Julius Randle can help out the Lakers.Marcus Smart can be a corner franchise player for Lakers.Dante Exum is another great player.5 potential franchise players are in the 2014 NBA Draft,Lakers are tanking from what it seems like,they will lose all their road games coming up.Actually 20 out of the next 29 games are on the road for the Lakers,they will lose most of those road games.And at max the Lakers will win 28 games total.

    Kobe is just brought in as a attraction circus side show act.Lakers are comedy they are now officially the laughingstock of the NBA.Jim Buss is the Lakers Grim Reaper and he is killing off the Lakers franchise.It’s over.Move on.I will never post on here again and this is my first post ever on here.Thanks.

    • rofl

      That’s right, Lakers won’t be again great team until Kobe retire. He is a great player top 15 ever, but signing that contract was a completely joke. Because of that LA won’t have any perspectives in next few years, there is MDA, mismatch Pau, Nash and Kobe are probably done. No superstar, no good role players, no coach, no defens. What do this people believe in? Blake, Hill and Sacre? Rofl

  • joe23

    the lakers are not fun to watch again ever since kobe come back on the team, he mess up the chemistry big time with this young core that are playing well with the uptempo type of game. ( i love kobe but he need to step back and let this young guys play)
    Remember when kobe is not playing yet and the team played with the blazer lakers are down 17 points at the 1Q and 20 points in the 4Q but this young guys are fighting and came back but still fell to the blazer but what im saying is that type of game and guys are fun to watch.
    kobe slows the paceof the game big time, but this young guys are want to run the game, now this young guys are bored what kobe want to play the game.
    I can’t see this lakers will win any in this road games.

  • Dragon7s

    “Kobe’s ball dominating style hasn’t meshed with the younger Laker players…”
    Huh? I watched the game and didn’t see any of the Kobe-centric offense that so many on these and other boards keep talking about.
    13 assists in 23 minutes and if Meeks hadn’t been so off with his shot, Kobe could have been closer to 20 assists.

    People need to make up their minds and actually watch the games before they continue with this “Kobe’s ball dominating” mantra that has no truth in actual fact, esp. since from midway last season when Kobe showed he’s more than willing (and capable) of involving other players on offense.

    Now, having said that, his 7 TO’s are alarming but I see that as more of a case of where he’s still working on his timing with so many new faces on the team and this only his 3rd game back. Those TO’s will decrease as he gets more comfortable with where his teammates like to get the ball and the game starts to slow down for Kobe again.

    The real problem with this team is inside D and by that I’m referring to both dribble penetration and stopping opposing big men in the post.
    Until the Lakers adopt a Mutumbo-esque attitude about the paint, they are going to keep making mid-tier players eligible for POTW honors.

  • Rick Mora

    3 team trade:
    lakers get : omer asik
    bulls get: pau gasol
    rockets get: carlos boozer

  • Jim213

    Although the Bobcats have a close to similar record as the Lakers they still play competitive ball. A must win game to stay around the 500 avg range. IMO, it may benefit the team today if they play big inside given that both teams have similar numbers while battling on the boards.

    The Cats have a decent FG% and struggle with the long ball. One advantage that the Lakers should have AS LONG AS the ball is rotated is hitting OPEN 3′s. The Lakers will need to out hustle the cats on the boards given that more than 1 and 2 players are consistent within the boards on a nightly basis(advantage bigs if play).

    One weakness for the Cats is that they’re close to the bottom of the league when it comes to assist. Thus individual play more so than team play when it comes to offense. Aside of that the starters for the Cats avg. 10+ points a game. HUSTLING and playing TEAM BALL aside of big inside should improve the team’s odds of winning today IMO.

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