Well, the Denver loss wasn’t entirely unexpected. What was surprising was the Truth not pulling his usual load on rebounding and scoring – a very off night indeed. Had he been up to the task, I reckon we should have taken the game today. Nonetheless, we move on to our favourite rival on a back-to-back night; fun times await.
Stat check: The Lakers have lost 4 of their last 10 games, the latest being a loss to the Clippers at home.
Game time: 21 Feb 2013, 1430hrs AEDT
Watch it on: NBA League Pass
- Rajon Rondo is out for the season with a torn ACL on his right knee.
- Jared Sullinger is out for the season after his back operation.
- Leandro Barbosa is out for the season with a torn ACL on his left knee.
- Updated: Terrence Williams will suit up and be ready to play today.
- Pau Gasol is working through his torn plantar fascia injury, will not play while he tries to return to the game this season.
Top enemy performers:
- Scoring: Kobe Bryant (26.8)
- Rebounds: Dwight Howard (11.8)
- Assists: Steve Nash (7.4)
Keys to the game:
- De-rusting Paul Pierce for them buckets: the captain needs to round back into shape, most especially scoring shape. If he goes 2 for 14 again the way he did today, we are cooked. Even with Green providing a scoring punch off the bench, the team is all too reliant right now on the Truth to score the points.
- Forcing the Magic out of Kobe: Get Kobe back into the usual me-against-the-world offensive mode, and things will roll much better. Should he be passing to the open man (who theoretically makes the shot), the game will be really tough.
- The Gangster Squad: Bench contribution will make or break this game. Shorthanded as we are, the bench still has to come through. Green and JET on scoring, Wilcox on rebounding, finding the easy transition buckets and I’m hoping, some low post plays if a mismatch happens.
- Sharing the ball: We basically stopped moving the ball quick enough in the second half of the Nuggets game, and it slowed things down into Iso-Pierce once more. The offense cannot operate like this, period. Keep looking for the open man, keep dishing and moving. We, not Me.
While it is always tough to clinch a W on the road on a back-to-back, I wouldn’t be surprised if the C’s do manage to take this game. No one in the team played excessive minutes, everyone is still in one piece (excepting Bradley with a slightly tweaked ankle). There’a real chance here, and all we have to do is to work for it.