Bucks Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Keyon Dooling
SG: John Salmons
SF: Chris Douglas-Roberts
PF: Ersan Ilyasova
C: Andrew Bogut
Key Reserves: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Drew Gooden, Earl Boykins
Injuries: Brandon Jennings, Michael Redd, Carlos Delfino, Corey Maggette
The Lakers return home and hope to continue their winning streak when they take on the injury riddled Bucks tonight.
Frontcourt: Bogut is a true force at center, but since the Bucks’ guards are unable to feed him the ball down low, his effectiveness has been muted. In the Bucks first game without Jennings, Bogut only had seven shot attempts. Ilyasova has been struggling to find his shot and will probably soon be supplanted by Gooden who is returning from injury. That’s not to say that Gooden is a significant upgrade – he is shooting a career low 43.2% from the field and his rebounding has been mediocre. At the four, CDR and Mbah a Moute split the minutes. CDR is a scorer who gets most of his buckets inside the lane, but has a weak jump shot. Mbah a Moute is primarily a defender who has limited offensive ability.
Backcourt: With Jennings out, Dooling has stepped into the starting line-up at the point. Dooling is not as dynamic as Jennings on the offensive end, but is a more solid defender. Salmons has assumed scoring duties and he can be deadly from beyond the arc. The Bucks lack a pass first point guard who can get the ball to Bogut. Let’s face it, you know the Bucks’ backcourt is sorely depleted when they must resort to activating the 5 foot 5 inch, 34 year old, Earl Boykins. As much as I like rooting for the little guy, Boykins’ time to shine was five years ago when he was able to use his speed to his advantage.
Keys to Lakers Victory:
The Bucks are a poor shooting team (41.2% FG) and this percentage will probably go down with the loss of Jennings. As long as the Lakers can deny Bogut the ball, the Bucks’ offense will struggle. Salmons is the only other Buck who is threat to score more than twenty points. Kobe should be able to shut him down with ease as long as he takes him seriously.
Let’s hope the Lakers don’t look past this game in anticipation of their Christmas day match-up against the Heat. This should be an easy win for the Lakers as long as they take care of the ball and secure defensive boards. With almost as more players in suits than in jerseys, the Bucks roster is thin. If the Lakers come out to play with ample intensity the game will be over by halftime.
Laker Injuries: Theo Ratliff