The Lakers travel north tonight to meet the Golden State Warriors for the first meeting of the season between the two teams. The Lakers have won four in a row, while Golden State is coming off a loss to the Spurs on Wednesday. In the past couple years the meetings between these two teams provided high scoring and high energy basketball, but inevitably ended with Los Angeles taking home the victory. This year may be different, as Golden State is struggling early in the season, and carry just a 5-9 record into Saturday night’s matchup. On the other hand, the Lakers are riding high ever since the return of Pau Gasol. Since the return of the 7’0 Spaniard, the Lakers are 3-0, and all victories were double digit wins. For the Lakers to continue their winning streak tonight, here is what they must do to snag their fifth consecutive win.
- Battle of the Boards: With Gasol and Bynum healthy the Lakers have been dominating the rebounding category in the past three games. Look for this to continue tonight, especially since Golden State does not have a strong inside presence. Bynum, Gasol, Odom, and the rest of the Lakers front court should be able to control the ball for most of the game, resulting in extra possessions and second chance points.
- Monta Ellis vs. Kobe Bryant: Both players love to score, in fact Bryant is the second highest scorer in the league at 30.1 points per game, but Ellis has been hot lately. After a 37 point outburst against the Mavericks on Tuesday night, he came out and scored 42 against San Antonio on Wednesday. This will be an interesting match-up between two solid scorers.
- Mob or Sob? The bench has been the most inconsistent area of the Lakers game so far this season, and will continue to be dissected throughout the season. Golden State is not a powerful team, so the bench must be able to put them away at the end if the starters can develop a big lead. However, if it is a close game throughout, the bench must sustain the energy and give the Lakers a chance to win. While their inability to play successful basketball has not cost the Lakers yet this season, it certainly will down the line if their sub-par play continues.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Tip-off: 7:30 PST
TV: KCAL, NBALP
Radio: 710 ESPN (NEW home of the Los Angeles Lakers)