76ers Projected Starting Line-up:
PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Jodie Meeks
SF: Andres Nocioni
PF: Elton Brand
C: Spencer Hawes
Key Reserves: Louis Williams, Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner
Injuries: Andre Iguodala (day-to-day)
The Lakers look to close out 2010 with a bang when they face the 76ers tonight at Staples.
Frontcourt: Brand’s offensive rebounding is a weapon with 3.7 offensive grabs per game. Hawes had his best game of the season against the Lakers – 18 points and 13 rebounds. Gasol and Bynum need to be more aggressive in rebounding and boxing out. With the absence of Igoudala, the emergence of Nocioni has been surprising – he had an eye popping 20 point, 12 rebound performance against the Suns. Nocioni is an experienced veteran who can produce solid numbers from time-to-time. Battie and Speights provide back-up minutes and will probably see action in tonight’s game against the Lakers’ big frontline.
Backcourt: In the past three games Holiday has been a scoring threat, posting more than 20 points on 63.6% shooting. He also has the physical gifts to play great defense – long arms and quick feet. The main three point threat, Meeks, has been inconsistent and streaky. Off the bench, Young, Williams, and Turner take turns relieving the starters. Young is an excellent sixth man who has been efficient offensively, completing 55% of his attempts.
Keys to Laker Victory:
Bynum has been improving with each game and will be key to victory tonight. He needs to improve his effort on rebounding and look to keep the 76ers bigs off the glass. Gasol is tired and his play has reflected his overuse. However, he is still one of the best power forwards in the league and the Lakers need to continue to get him the ball in the post.
Kobe should be aggressive early and get to the hoop where he can either dish an assist or get to the free throw line. Lately, he has fallen in love with his jump shot and settled for too many tough looks. Kobe is most effective when he’s driving hard to the hoop because it will create more space for him to operate
Complacency is the Lakers’ worst enemy. Coming off a well fought victory, let’s hope the Lakers ring in the new year with a win. Happy New Years everyone, have fun and be safe!
Laker Injuries: Theo Ratliff