Nets Projected Starting Line-up:
PG: Devin Harris
SG: Stephen Graham
SF: Travis Outlaw
PF: Derrick Favors
C: Brook Lopez
Key Reserves: Sasha Vujacic, Kris Humphries, Jordan Farmar
Injuries: Anthony Morrow, Damion Jones
Two nights after a historic 55 point blowout, the Lakers return to Staples Center and host the struggling Nets.
Frontcourt: Admist the Melo trade rumors, Lopez is one of the few players on the Nets roster who is not on the trading block. He’s their bigman of the future but his averages have been down this year. Most notably his rebounding is down from 8.7 to 6 and his field goal percentage has fallen from 50% to 45%. Rookie Favors has been starting at power forward. While he’s still raw, his sheer size and athleticism makes him a welcome addition. The Nets leading rebounder is Humphries who is producing good numbers off the bench.
Backcourt: Harris has been playing well and is a sort of point guard that gives the Lakers trouble. He is a speedy player who can get into the paint and creates for others with his great passing. He had 15 assists against the Suns. Graham has been starting at the two since Morrow is injured. He’s a shooting guard who averages 3.9 points on 40% shooting – enough said. At the three, Outlaw has been sucking it up with an abysmal 36.2 field goal percentage. Since being traded by the Lakers, Vujacic has found a home with the Nets and is averaging 1.9 treys on 40% makes. Another former Laker, Farmar provides quality back-up minutes at the point.
Keys to Lakers Victory:
Key defensive plan should involve stopping Harris and Lopez. These are the two stars of the Nets team who can do any sort of damage. Harris could run circles around the Lakers guards if they don’t develop a strategy to contain him. Lopez had a gigantic 25 point, 9 rebound game against the Lakers last time these two teams met. I wouldn’t expect Lopez to have such an easy time tonight since Bynum is back and playing well.
If there is a way to lose, the Nets will find it. Against the Suns, the Nets were up fifteen in the 4th quarter and managed to lose by nine in overtime. The Lakers shouldn’t have any trouble completing another blowout tonight.
Lakers’ Injuries: Theo Ratliff, Matt Barnes