After a trip to the OC, returning to Inglewood for some nostalgia, and a quick stint in Sin City, the Lakers return home to the Staples Center for their first pre-season home games of the year. Saturday begins the Staples Center Shootout, a round robin mini tournament which includes the Utah Jazz, Charlotte Bobcats and that other LA team, the Clippers. The Lakers will take on the Bobcats on Saturday at 7:30 while the Clippers and Jazz kick off the action earlier in the afternoon at 4:30. The winners and losers of each game will play each other, with the Lakers locked in at the 7:30 slot regardless of their first game outcome. Tickets for each day are good for both games.
The Lakers starters put together a nice bounce back game after the let down in Inglewood, jumping on a young Kings team that couldn’t hang with the champs for more than a quarter. Young center Andrew Bynum produced more impressive results, showing a major effort to establish himself in the post, and by his own admittance “be first down the floor”. While Drew has surely matured in his attitude and game, coming a long way back from his injury, Ron Artest has still not become a fixture in the Lakers game plan. Artest is still finding his way with this team and in particular on the offensive side of the ball, largely in part due to re-learning the triangle offensive. He has been active on the defensive end however, locking up the opposing teams best players, and either making or contributing to a large number of steals.
What to watch for tonight at Staples:
- Guard Play – Charlotte features young, quick guards D.J. Augustin and Raymond Felton. This will be a good test for the Lakers reserve guards to see where they stand against a pair of talented young guards. It will be another interesting step in the journey to determining the position of backup point guard to Derek Fisher between Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar. This has been the highest publicized position battle for the Lakers this off-season, and either Brown or Farmar’s ability against quick guards like Augustin and Felton will be key.
- VladRad vs Lakers – The often criticized forward that was traded last winter from Los Angeles to Charlotte will be making another appearance against his former mates. During their last match up in March, Radmanovic scored seven points and helped Charlotte defeat the Lakers 94-84.
- Lakers struggles vs Bobcats – It is no mystery that the Lakers have struggled with the seemingly lowly Bobcats over the past few seasons, going a dismal 1-6 against Charlotte over the past four seasons. While the preseason is certainly not going to determine whether the Lakers have figured out the enigma of the Bobcats, it certainly may help. The Lakers players know that Charlotte has dominated them, look for them to come out strong at the start in an effort to prove to themselves they can handle the Bobcats.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Charlotte Bobcats
Friday, October 17, 2009
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Tip off – 7:30pm
TV: FS West
Radio: 710 ESPN (Welcome to the NEW Home of the Lakers)