The Los Angeles Lakers, 0-2, will face yet another tough opponent Friday night, their cross town rivals the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers played the Oklahoma City Thunder last night, in a game that went down to the wire despite the Thunder missing both their star players. The Clippers were out-rebounded by the Thunder and shot poorly from the field.
There is no question that those are two areas that Doc Rivers has stressed to his team going into this game against the Lakers. J.J. Redick shot 1-of-10 from the field. That is not to be expected again. Blake Griffin got off to a slow start last game, so he will look to come out stronger this game.
For the Lakers, it may sound repetitive, but it’s one of the reasons they keep losing. Who is going to help Kobe Bryant on the offensive end? Jeremy Lin struggled once again in Lakers’ last game against the Phoenix Suns. Carlos Boozer had a terrible game as well, scoring just four points and turning it over eight times. Once again, it has to be these two guys to help Kobe on offense.
On defense, the Lakers may have a lot of trouble trying to stop the athletic frontcourt of the Clippers. Who will defend Blake Griffin? Jordan Hill will probably matchup better with Griffin, but Boozer will then need do his best to keep DeAndre Jordan off the glass. Frankly, he is too undersized and not athletic enough to hold off Jordan and with that being said, the Lakers are going to have a long night trying to stop the Clippers bigs.
Ed Davis may need to play big minutes in this one as he is the only player on the Lakers roster who could possibly match the athleticism of Griffin and Jordan. But the Lakers will also have to worry about Chris Paul. It may be ideal if Ronnie Price starts this game to pest Paul on defense, while Lin comes off the bench to try and supply some offensive fire power.
The Lakers bench will have to keep up with Jamal Crawford’s scoring, which is going to be another tough thing to do. Xavier Henry, who did not play last game, may see minutes in this game, but he has to be aggressive like he was last season. Wayne Ellington will need to have a good showing as well.
The Clippers are going to try and expose the Lakers’ weakness. They will seek to beat the Lakers with dribble drives, penetration, three-point shooting, and, of course, alley-oop plays. The Lakers were a minus-36 against the Suns in three-point shooting. Despite struggling with their three-point shot last night, the Clippers will still use that to defeat the Lakers, who have done an abysmal job of defending the three. The Lakers have gone from one of the best three-point shooting teams last season to the worst, as they are following Coach Byron Scott’s orders and limiting their three-point attempts.
The Lakers have lost their first two games by an average of 19 points. Can they bounce back? It will be extremely tough, especially with key injuries to the team but as long as they show some effort on the defensive end, they could hang in this one just like the shorthanded Thunder did last night against the Clippers.