The Los Angeles Lakers are coming back home from their three-game road trip after winning two of three. The Lakers were able to take care of both the Sacramento Kings and the New Orleans Pelicans before heading into Minnesota and having a rough outing against the Timberwolves.
The Lakers bench has continued to be huge for them as Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, and Larry Nance Jr. have combined to give teams fits when they go to their respective second units.
The Brooklyn Nets, like the Lakers, have been a surprise so far this season. Expected to be the worst team in the NBA, the Nets have been surprisingly solid so far this year at 4-6 with wins over expected playoff teams in the Pistons and Pacers. Like the Lakers, the Nets have a new coach in Kenny Atkinson who is already paying dividends.
The Nets are on the second night of a back-to-back, taking a huge loss to the Los Angeles Clippers last night, who currently own the NBA’s best record. They will be looking to salvage
Jeremy Lin was the biggest free agent acquisition this offseason, but he has been unable to play because of his hamstring injury. The Nets have looked to Sean Kilpatrick to fill the void Lin has left and he is averaging a respectable 15.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists this season in Lin’s absence.
The other player in their backcourt is Bojan Bogdanovic. Bogdanovic has been solid this season averaging 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Bogdanovic is a gunner who isn’t afraid to let it fly from deep. Neither he or Kilpatrick is a traditional point guard however, and don’t consistently create for other.
Veteran Randy Foye, a known shooter, and undrafted rookie Yogi Ferrell, the team’s only pure point guard, represent the Nets’ options off the bench.
The Lakers backcourt is in the same place it has been all season. The Lakers have gotten production out of both veteran guards Lou Williams and Nick Young. It seems that Nick Young usually starts off the game hot and Lou Williams can finish off games for the Lakers.
Jordan Clarkson is a player that has had great scoring nights and other nights he allows others to shine. D’Angelo Russell has been inconsistent this year, having huge games some nights and following it up with disappointing performances. Look for Russell to get things going early for the Lakers tonight.
Brook Lopez has been the face of the Brooklyn Nets for a long time now. Lopez is currently still a great scorer, averaging 19.4 points, but is pulling down a disappointing 4.8 rebounds so far this season. Lopez rested last night against the Los Angeles Clippers and will be ready to play tonight.
Both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Trevor Booker are defensive-minded players and excellent athletes, but not the most offensively skilled guys. These are the type of players the Lakers can not allow to have big nights.
Every time the Lakers play a team with a dominant offensive big man Timofey Mozgov will be an important part of the Laker’s game plan. Mozgov has a chance to be able to bother Lopez and take him out of the game. He must, however, avoid the foul trouble he saw against the Timberwolves.
Julius Randle has arguably been the Lakers’ best all-around player so far this year, upping his efficiency while becoming a better playmaker and defender. He must keep up his great start. On the other end, Luol Deng has been a major disappointment so far this year and must figure out a way to get out of his shooting slump.
Keys to Victory:
Win the Battle Of The Benches: Both the Lakers and the Nets are in the top-five in bench scoring this NBA season. The Lakers’ biggest strength, so far has been their bench. When the starters fall behind they bring in Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Brandon Ingram to provide energy on both sides of the floor. They must maintain their level of play.
Play Defense Without Fouling:
The Lakers have shown that they are able to play good defense, but they have also bailed other teams out of bad situations with fouls. The Lakers allowed Andrew Wiggins to get to the free throw line over 20 times in their last game. This team needs to start building a reputation of a team that doesn’t foul.
Play With Energy:
The Lakers have shown when they play with high energy they can keep up with anyone. One of the major complaints from their coaching staff this year is they wait until the second half to grab the game by the throat. The Lakers should be able to jump to a big lead early versus the Nets and never look back.
Los Angeles Lakers (6-5) Vs. Brooklyn Nets (4-6)
7:30 P.M. PST, November 15, 2016
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN)/1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Nets Starting Lineup:
PG: Sean Kilpatrick
SG: Bojan Bogdanovic
SF: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
PF: Trevor Booker
C: Brook Lopez
Key Reserves: Randy Foye, Yogi Ferrell, Joe Harris, Justin Hamilton, Luis Scola
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Nick Young
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Julius Randle
C: Timofey Mozgov
Key Reserves: Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Lou Williams, Tarik Black