Last night the Lakers were able to get out of their two-game funk by obliterating the Pelicans 116-95 at home. An inspired effort from Jordan Hill, along with an amazing dunk from Xavier Henry, would be the main takeaways from last nights game, as the Lakers would cruise to an easy win.
Tonight, the Lakers go back on the road, as they’ll face off against the Denver Nuggets. The second night of a back-to-back hasn’t been the most favorable situation for the Lakers so far early in the season, as they have yet to win a game in that scenario.
Mike D’Antoni continues to shuffle up the first unit, with Wesley Johnson and Jordan Hill making an appearance in the starting lineup in last nights game. We should expect D’Antoni to stick with these two again tonight. Their energy and athleticism proved to be of good use with the starters, and that’s going to be needed again tonight on the road in the Denver (one of the toughest places to win).
Despite the fact that the Nuggets will be without Javale McGee, they still present one of the tougher frontcourts to matchup with because of Kenneth Faried. His energy has been a problem for the Lakers in past match-ups, as they have typically lacked the athleticism needed to combat his energy over the course of a game. J.J. Hickson is expected to start alongside Kenneth Faried in the absence of McGee. Like Faried, Hickson is also a guy that uses his effort and energy to contribute to his teams success.
It’s great that D’Antoni has placed Jordan Hill into the starting lineup, as he seems to be an ideal fit to do the dirty work that is required in battling against this scrappy Nuggets frountcourt.
The starting backcourt of the Denver Nuggets includes both Ty Lawson and Randy Foye. Lawson is always a tough player to guard because of his ability to change the pace of a game with his speed, and Foye is an excellent compliment to him because he doesn’t demand the ball and knows his role as a spot-up shooter in most offensive sets.
Off the bench, the Nuggets have one of the more dynamic players in the league in Nate Robinson. His ability to attack, paired with a jump shot that is somewhat consistent, makes him one of the more intriguing players to watch. He’s very streaky, and can quickly go on a mini-run all by himself at any point of a game.
Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake, and Jodie Meeks will have their work cut out for them, as they are going to have to try to figure out a way to limit at least one of these guys in tonights matchup.
Keys To Lakers’ Victory
Get Off To A Good Start: Perhaps the most important aspect of a road game on the second night of a back-to-back is the start of it. Too often this season the Lakers have allowed themselves to come out with no energy or intensity on the road, thus resulting in a loss.
The one thing the Lakers don’t want to do is dig themselves into a hole that will be impossible to get out of (e.g. allowing 47 points in the 1st quarter to the T-Wolves this past Sunday), and that can easily happen if they don’t come out with the right effort in the first quarter. It’s important to set the tone early.
Transition Defense: The Nuggets will certainly look to run, as the Lakers are going to be tired from travel and playing last night. Not to mention, this team is obviously not accustomed to playing the notorious high altitude in Denver, all working in the favor of the Nuggets.
Because of that, D’Antoni is going to have to make it a focal point that the Lakers limit the transition opportunities of the Nuggets. They should force the Nuggets to operate in the half-court and make decisions as a team versus running out in the open court and getting easy baskets.
Make Three-Pointers: It’s no secret that the three-point line has been a key component of the Lakers success in their wins this season, so if they are going to steal a win on the road in Denver, it’s important that they knock down shots from behind the arc.
It’s not so much that they attempt a lot of threes, but that they simply convert on opportunities that they should. If that happens, they certainly will give themselves a chance to win.
Denver Nuggets (2-4) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (4-5)
6:00 PM PST, November 13, 2013
Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPNLA
Nuggets Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Ty Lawson
SG: Randy Foye
SF: Jordan Hamilton
PF: Kenneth Faried
C: J.J. Hickson
Key Reserves: SG/SF Quincy Miller SG Wilson Chandler PG Nate Robinson