Kobe Bryant – Stephen Jackson
Ron Artest – Gerald Wallace
Pau Gasol – Boris Diaw
Andrew Bynum – Kwame Brown
Lakers couldn’t find their way around the Orlando Magic on Sunday afternoon, losing in Florida to make their record 4-1 on their current road trip. Dwight Howard went 13 for 16 from the floor and finished with 31 points and 13 rebounds. The biggest question after the game was Andrew Bynum’s knee. Bynum came up gimpy late in the game on and looked uncomfortable limping. So far, it is said that his bone bruise in his left knee is bothersome.
Los Angeles will head into Charlotte on Valentine’s Day to try and snatch a win from Michael Jordan’s young Bobcats team. The Bobcats have always given the Lakers trouble, winning seven of their last nine meets against L.A.
The Bobcats just came off a buzzer beater win in Atlanta when Stephen Jackson knocked down a rainbow jumper over Maurice Evans and Al Horford. Charlotte has been trying to gain back some rhythm into their game for the playoff hunt. Last season, the Bobcats were swept in the playoffs by Orlando and owner Michael Jordan was not happy. Recently, Jordan practiced with his team and supposedly kicked butt which, for Jordan, isn’t a surprise even at the age of 47. Charlotte’s breakout point guard D.J. Augustin has been having an atrocious month as well, shooting 29%.
Keys to Lakers Victory:
Size advantage – The Lakers have Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum (two 7 footers), the Bobcats have a 6’8 Boris Diaw and 6’11 Brown. Their next line of big men is Eduardo Najera at 6’8 and Nazr Mohammed at 6’10. Tyrus Thomas is on the injury list.
Make Free Throws – The Lakers shot 46% at the line in Orlando.
Control Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace – If Ron Artest plays tight defense on Jackson or Wallace, points won’t come easy for the Bobcats as their next highest scoring leaders are Augustin and Diaw. Augustin has been struggling this month and Diaw puts up 8.7 shots a game with very few three-attempts.