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Lakers vs. Clippers Game Preview: Lakers Look To Start Season With Bang Reviewed by Momizat on . Coming into the 2012-2013 season, the Lakers were the ones with championship expectations after the offseason acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. We a Coming into the 2012-2013 season, the Lakers were the ones with championship expectations after the offseason acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. We a Rating:
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Lakers vs. Clippers Game Preview: Lakers Look To Start Season With Bang

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Gasol-PaulComing into the 2012-2013 season, the Lakers were the ones with championship expectations after the offseason acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. We all know how that turned out. Coming into this season, it is the team down the hall in Staples Center with the championship expectations. For the first time since…well, ever, the Clippers are expected to legitimately compete for a title this season.

The Clippers embarrassed the Lakers in all four of their meetings last season, sweeping the series for the first time since the franchise moved to Los Angeles. The games were not close either, as the Clips won by an average margin of 13.2 points per game.

In hiring one of the top three coaches in the league in Doc Rivers, the Clippers are looking to instill a winning mentality into their franchise. In tonight’s opener, the Lakers have a tall task ahead of them in trying to defeat their hallway rivals without the services of Kobe Bryant.

Frontcourt: Blake Griffin’s development, and in particular his offensive repertoire, is one of the keys to the Clippers’ championship hopes. An All-Star in each of his three NBA seasons (not counting his rookie season when he sat out with an injury), Griffin remains one of, if not the most, explosive player in the league. Pau Gasol has had some success in the past defending Griffin (despite getting posterized on a couple plays) due to his length and Griffin’s subpar jumpshot. However, it looks like Coach D’Antoni is going to start Shawne Williams at the four in tonight’s matchup. Williams’ effort in defending Griffin will be important if the Lakers want to pull out a win.

DeAndre Jordan is back again as the Clippers’ starting center, and he has thrived under Doc Rivers’ guidance in the preseason in averaging 3.4 blocks per game. His development on the defensive side of the ball is the other key for the Clips. Rivers is schematically one of the best defensive coaches in the league, and he has made it a point to emphasize the importance of quarterbacking the team’s defense as well as timely rotations with Jordan. Jordan’s extreme athleticism gives him the potential to be one of the league’s best anchors on defense. Pau Gasol must be aggressive as the Lakers’ centerpiece on offense and go at DeAndre to try to get him into early foul trouble.

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Backcourt: When Doc Rivers first got the job, he had a meeting with Chris Paul and told him that he has yet to accomplish anything of significance in the NBA. With that, Rivers immediately gained Paul’s respect. CP3 is without a doubt the best point guard in the league today and can takeover a game with both his scoring and playmaking ability. Look for this perennial All-Star to have one of the best seasons of his already outstanding career. As for the Lakers, look for them to try to avoid having Steve Nash guard Paul. If the Lakers start Steve Blake at the two, which seems likely, look for him to start out on Paul rather than Nash.

JJ Redick and Jared Dudley, two of the Clippers’ primary offseason additions, are set to start at the two and three for them. Both are two of the better knockdown shooters in the league (39 percent career from three for JJ, 40 percent for Dudley) and they figure to be excellent compliments to Paul as well as Griffin offensively. They are both solid enough defenders to fit in to Doc’s defensive schemes and are high IQ players that Paul will enjoy playing with. Jamal Crawford, one of the best sixth men in the league a season ago with the Clippers, returns and will likely fulfill the same role this season. The Lakers must do their best to slow down Crawford when he enters and not allow him to gain significant offensive rhythm as he can carry a team for short stretches.

Keys to Lakers Victory: 
Limit Turnovers: Though the Clippers will play a more disciplined style of play under Coach Rivers, they still have many of the same pieces that dubbed them the nickname “Lob City” from the last two seasons. What this means is that if the Lakers turn the ball over early and often, the Clippers will be able to run out and get easy layups and dunks that could doom the Lakers quickly. Though the Lakers have gotten more athletic this offseason and actually might match up better with the Clippers this season than last, they still can’t get caught trying to run with the Clippers.

Continued Bench Momentum: The Lakers bench was one of the positives to take away from the preseason. With the additions of Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry, Chris Kaman, and Wes Johnson, the Lakers have a stronger bench than they did last season. The Clippers have one of the best benches in the league headlined by Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, and Darren Collison. The Lakers must be able to keep the game even with this group while both units are in the game.

Pau Gasol: The Lakers need Pau to be aggressive early and to look for his shot. While he is a great distributor out of both the high and low post, the Lakers need him to assert himself if they want to get victories over top-notch teams like the Clippers. They also need Pau to be active defensively, as signs point toward D’Antoni pairing Shawne Williams with him in the starting lineup. He must control the boards and be disruptive in the paint.

Los Angeles Clippers (0-0) at Los Angeles Lakers (0-0)
7:30 PM PST, October 29, 2013
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet, TNT
Radio: 710 ESPNLA

Clippers Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Chris Paul
SG: JJ Redick
SF: Jared Dudley
PF: Blake Griffin
C: DeAndre Jordan

Key Reserves: PG Darren Collison, SF Matt Barnes, SG Jamal Crawford

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Chris Kaman Talks About The Lakers’ Chemistry

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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
  • Paytc

    Max,
    Good article. I think you have made some very good observations. This is a tough game for the Lakers from a psychological standpoint. This is a statement game for both teams. The Lakers will still be trying to find their identity as a team without Kobe anchoring them down.

    A blow out loss to the Clippers in game one could be an early season tone setter unless MDA has the team understanding they must take things one game at a time.Kobe’s mentality will not be on the court. so Gasol and Nash will have to hold it together until Famar,Henry,and other capable bench players step in to give us a lift. I think the Lakers bench this year is our advantage going into the season.

    I am sure Famar will most likely be the only Laker PG fast and athletic enough to slow CP3 down a little. Good luck to Nash and Blake slowing down CP3. Hopefully the Lakers realize that is the most critical area of concern along with limiting our turnovers that lead to high flying momentum building dunks.

    The advantage the Clippers have is they have been healthy and playing as a team longer. They are well coached ,and the more confident team at this point in the season. The Clippers already have good team chemistry.

    Nash has not been healthy long enough for the Lakers to get into any kind of consistent rhythm as a team. We have our best player still recovering and asking a lot from 4 players who outside of Gasol have not started in many NBA games in the past. Obviously Nash has started in many games but not many in the past 400 days. It should be a tough game,but fun to watch.

    Go Lakers!

    • Paytc

      Oh and because I see Kaman as a possible starter along side Gasol I did not mention Kaman (who I believe will be coming off the bench in this 1st game) as a bench player. Kaman is a solid veteran player who respects the game and great players. We have a lot to be excited about.

      Go Lakers !

      • Paytc

        Good job tonight Lakers! But you have to stay hungry. The statement made tonight will put the league on notice, thus forcing all teams to take the Lakers seriously.

        That means we will not be able to sneak up on too many teams. We are still underdogs riding under the radar. And we have to keep battling one game at a time.

  • Daryl Peek

    Dave McMenamin ‏@mcten2m
    D’Antoni confirms starters as Nash, Blake, Young, Williams and Gasol against the Clippers

    • Jim213

      It’ll be interesting to watch who aside of Farmar will guard CP3. Not sure about the starting five given the younger legs (Clipps) but IMO the lineup will be a work in progress.

      • Daryl Peek

        I’m sure both Blake and Nash will switch on CP3 to start. I’d prefer Blake on Paul. The beginning of every NBA season is a work in progress. Especially when you have a team that only has 2 starters on the floor from the previous season and only 4 players total from 2 seasons ago

        • Jim213

          Daryl, no excuses time to ‘Step Up’ like RA say’s.

          • Daryl Peek

            Where am I making excuses? Work in progress is not an excuse.

          • Jim213

            Talking bout players, but they are in the starting lineup too. Just not sure if this lineup of older vet players can hold down the small ball offenses.

          • Daryl Peek

            Rotations, rotations, rotations. Variety is the key. Rest tired legs when need, lean on vets in critical moments.

          • Jim213

            Key to today’s game. Being making the correct rotations given that if the coach goes by group (1st, 2nd team) good luck (what chemistry?… doubt this would occur though).

            Nash playing 6 minutes a quarter just doesn’t sound right especially if he misses some of the most important moments being in the late 4th quarter.

          • Daryl Peek

            We shall see tonight.

  • star1

    Sorry lakernation but I’m just gonna tell it like it is. Lakers will be awful this season. No chance. Expect terrible defense, rough offense, and a lot of blow out losses. I mean just look at the starters. Teams will love playing the lakers. They are outmatched at each position. I can see kobe really taking his time to recover once he sees these guys play. It will be so bad that Dantoni will resign mid season. But that means the lakers will get a high pick in an incredible draft + a big time player or 2 with all that cap. It’ll be fine in the long run. Probably contenders next year.

    • Daryl Peek

      How so? We had an all-star group 1-5 last preseason and lost every game. 4-4 with the over-matched crew in games that our opponents left their starters on the floor late in games. I’d say we have a fighting chance given we already looked better than last season.

      • star1

        They have some very good players now. Throw in 2 or possibly 3 All-Stars with that and you easily have a real contender. Lakers are at best a 1st round playoff team now, unless Kobe comes back and dominates which is unfair pressure to put on him. An achilles is nothing to rush.
        Dwight leaving was the best thing for the Lakers. Dude is a cancer. And houston fans think Matt Schaub is bad.

        • Daryl Peek

          This group of Lakers will be fine. Kobe’s return will be the gravy as I’ve been trying to tell folks

  • LakersHeatBeef

    Go Lakers!

  • http://www.haveslot.com/ richard

    I think this laker team is good for 12th in the West, and the Clippers are gonna steam roll them tonight… oh wait a minute… the Lakers won? Damn!

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