Key Reserves: Shaun Livingston, Matt Carroll
Injuries: Tyrus Thomas
The Bobcats have won 8 of the past 10 games against the Lakers. Somehow this non-playoff team from the Eastern conference own the two time defending champions. The Lakers hope to break the spell that the Bobcats have over them tonight.
Frontcourt: The departure of Gerald Wallace and Nazr Mohammed significantly weakened the Bobcat’s frontline. Diaw is an all around type of player who is a jack of all trades but a master of none. Former Laker, Kwame Brown still hasn’t lived up to the expectations of a 1st overall pick. However, he’s a big body who can matchup with Bynum’s size. A rotating bench of Pryzbilla, Najera, and White provide meaningless backup minutes.
Backcourt: Augustin is a quick guard who can penetrate and dish. At the two, Henderson and Carroll split minutes. Henderson was 6 for 9 with 18 points against the Lakers recently, so Kobe will need to take him more seriously tonight. Veteran small forward Jackson is the ‘star’ player for the Bobcats who can put up points in a hurry.
Keys to Lakers Victory:
No easy baskets: In the last meeting between these two teams, the Bobcats shot 51.2%. Many of these came from uncontested layups and wide open threes. The Lakers need to make the Bobcats work for their shots.
Get the ball to Bynum and Gasol: The Lakers need to pound the ball inside and take advantage of their size. The Bobcats have no true answer for the skill and talents of the Lakers’ bigs. Rather than force outside shots, the Lakers should start with the ball in the post and let the big men create for the guards.
Lakers’ Injuries: Theo Ratliff, Matt Barnes