The Los Angeles Lakers are back in action Wednesday evening to take on the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. The Lakers are coming off a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, while the Pelicans are coming off a loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Lakers played well against the Grizzlies Tuesday night and will look to gather a win against the Pelicans, who currently own a 3-3 record.
However, the Lakers may have plenty of trouble trying to stop Anthony Davis. Who will receive the task of defending Davis? Certainly, Carlos Boozer is not going to stop him. He is too undersized and not as long and athletic. Jordan Hill may be a more preferable matchup, while Boozer tries to keep Omer Asik off the boards.
The Pelicans have the best interior defense in the league as they are averaging 7.3 blocks per game, mainly because of Anthony Davis. The Lakers guards are going to see a lot of congestion when driving to the paint. They will have to use a lot of up fakes to get Davis out of position, but will have to look for his quick second jump or for his lengthy frontcourt mate, Asik.
The Lakers had a rough time trying to keep the Memphis Grizzlies off the offensive glass during the first half of their last game. They cleaned up the rebounding in the second half and will have to make a conscious team effort to keep the Pelicans off the offensive glass as well. New Orleans ranks number one in offensive rebounding, and it’s, once again, thanks to Davis’s hustle, quick second jumps, and long and athletic frame.
This game will be the second of a back-to-back for the Lakers, and Byron Scott will have to do a superb job of managing minutes. The Lakers starters received heavy-minutes last game due to a lack of bench production. The only bench players who received double digits in minutes were Ed Davis and Ronnie Price. Therefore, keeping guys fresh throughout this game will be important for the Lakers. On the bright side, the Lakers may get Ryan Kelly back.
Eric Gordon has had a dreadful start to the season. He has been averaging 7.8 points per game on 29.3 percent shooting. If you’re the Lakers, you do not want a struggling player like Gordon to break out of his slump. The Lakers have a tendency of allowing slumping players to find their stride against them, just like they allowed the struggling Grizzlies bench to go off on them last night. They have to still be aware of Gordon despite his horrific play.
The Lakers fought hard against the Grizzlies, and they will need the same effort this game. Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, Wesley Johnson, and Jordan Hill all aided Kobe Bryant offensively. The key is for them to remain consistent, especially Johnson.
We’ll see if fatigue plays a factor or if the Lakers will be able to overcome it and earn their second victory of the season.