It’s hard to stay focused on the games when there are so many rumors surrounding the Lakers’ head coach search. After Mike Brown was fired, all indications are that the Lakers head coaching job is Phil Jackson’s decision to accept or turn down. Until that decision is made, the Lakers will be coached by interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff.
Tonight the Lakers host the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center. Without further adieu, let’s jump right into the analysis.
Frontcourt: The centerpiece and most important player for the Kings going forward is DeMarcus Cousins. The King’s center has averaged 17.3 points and 9.8 boards through six games. His weaknesses this season have been his field goal percentage (42.6 percent) and blocks (0.8). It will be a fun matchup to see how he stacks up against Dwight Howard.
At the four, Jason Thompson has only managed 9.7 points and 5.5 boards; however, he has 1.5 blocks and is shooting 55.5 percent from the field. Cousins and Thompson complement each other well as one’s weaknesses is the other’s strengths.
James Johnson is the wing player who is a solid role player, but hasn’t really contributed much offensively for the Kings thus far. Key bench player Thomas Robinson is suspended for tonight’s game after an intentional elbow to the neck of Jonas Jerebko.
Backcourt: Tyreke Evans continues to regress; he’s averaging a career low 11.8 points on 36.0 percent shooting. He would benefit from concentrating on driving to the basket and drawing fouls but for some reason he has relegated himself to jump shooting. Evans has the physical attributes to challenge Kobe, but Kobe has been on fire lately hitting 55.9 percent of his shots and 90.5 percent of his free throws.
Running the show is diminutive guard Isaiah Thomas. He’s struggled in the first six games of the season and has only dished out 1.5 assists per game. Off the bench, Marcus Thornton is the second leading scorer on the team with 16.7 points and 1.7 threes per game. If the Lakers can shut him down, then they’ll severely limit the King’s offense.
Key to Lakers’ Victory:
Defense: The Lakers were able to trounce the Warriors due to great defense; they held the Warriors to 33.7 percent shooting. It’s absolutely imperative for the Lakers to keep up the defensive intensity tonight. The offense hasn’t been as much of a problem as the mainstream media has made it out to be. The Lakers are averaging 97.6 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting, which is better than 70 percent of the teams in the NBA.
Defensive rotations need to be the point of emphasis, which has been a struggle for the Lakers. If the Lakers can hold the Kings to 40 percent shooting or less, then they should win easily tonight.
Block out Distractions: The coaching search is surely on the minds of the entire Lakers squad, but they will have to block that out and focus on the task at hand. They were able to take out their pent up frustrations on the Warriors so hopefully they’ll keep tapping into that fuel for tonight’s game. Whether Phil Jackson is the future coach of the Lakers or someone else doesn’t matter. Tonight the Lakers needs to pick up a much needed win to draw within one game of .500.
Sacramento Kings (2-4) at Los Angeles Lakers (2-4)
6:30 PM PST, November 11, 2012
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC Sports Network
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)
Kings Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Isaiah Thomas SG: Tyreke Evans SF: James Johnson PF: Jason Thompson C: DeMarcus Cousins
Key Reserves: SG: Marcus Thornton PG: Aaron Brooks PF: Thomas Robinson (suspended)