The Los Angeles Lakers will be looking to get their first win of the preseason as they return home to the Staples Center to square off against the Maccabi Haifa Basketball Club. Though the Lakers are 0-3 this preseason, there has been plenty of positive signs that have come from the losses. Leading the way for the Lakers was Lou Williams with 19 points and two assists in 24 minutes. Julius Randle continued to flash his ability to do everything well with a highly-efficient 17 points, five rebounds and three assists, one of them coming on a behind-the-back touch pass to Kobe Bryant for one of his two three-pointers. Kobe finished the game with 16 points, three assists and three rebounds in 21 minutes.
Based out of Israel, Maccabi Haifa is no stranger to facing teams from the NBA. They are coming off a 97-84 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday and have played against several NBA teams in last year’s preseason. However, their record versus NBA teams suggests that the Lakers should be able to escape with their first win this preseason.
The Maccabi Haifa frontcourt is anchored by 7-footer Alex Chubravich, who helped his team get off to a hot start versus the Grizzlies in their last outing. Now in his fourth year with the team, he recorded 14 points, five rebounds and three steals while going up against one the NBA’s premier centers in Marc Gasol. Alongside Chubravich is California’s own Rene Rougeau, who led the way for Maccabi Haifa in their last game with a stellar performance scoring 15 points, grabbing seven rebounds and seven steals. Rougeau, who grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, played his college ball at UNLV before going undrafted in 2009 and is now squaring expected to square off against Kobe.
Countering the Lakers backcourt will be Gregory Vargas and Chanan Colman. Vargas struggled in their meeting versus the Grizzlies going 2-for-9 from the field, but he found other ways to contribute by dishing out five assists. Meanwhile, Colman got hot finishing the game with 14 points, while going 50 percent from the field and hitting three shots from behind-the-arc and was a big reason why Maccabi Haifa managed to remain tied with Memphis through the first half.
Keys to Victory:
Battle on the Boards: The Lakers will need to be active on the boards and not allow offensive rebounds for second-chance points. The purple and gold let the Raptors dominate the paint early as they allowed four offensive rebounds in the first quarter, 12 the whole game. The Lakers also did not have one player in double digits for rebounds last game, the most was Jonathan Holmes with six rebounds.
Limit the Turnovers: At times this preseason, the Lakers offense looked a bit one-dimensional. Rather than taking turns going one-on-one and trying to make something happen, they need to find their rhythm by moving the ball around and spreading the floor out. The Lakers turned the ball over 11 times last game and gave up 18 points off of those turnovers. In the game before against the Jazz, they gave up 19 turnovers and allowed 24 points off those turnovers. If they want to break that habit, tonight would be a good time to start.
Finish the Game: This has been the trend these past couple seasons for the Lakers. They come out strong and play well the first half, then suddenly after halftime they let the score get out of hand before making a comeback as time runs out. Since the players that are finishing these games are the second group, they will be heavily relied on to contribute efficiently when the starters rest. Although it is just preseason, now is the time to see which players can show out when their team needs them most.
Maccabi Haifa (0-3) vs Los Angeles Lakers (0-3)
6:30 PM PST, October 11, 2015
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: TWC SportsNet/ NBATV
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 (Spanish)
Maccabi Haifa Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Chanan Colman
SG: Gregory Vargas
SF: Rene Rougeau
PF: Oz Blayzer
C: Alex Chubravich
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
SG: Kobe Bryant
SF: Anthony Brown
PF: Julius Randle
C: Roy Hibbert