Lakers vs. Warriors Pre-Game Report: Lakers Seek Win on the Road

Los Angeles Lakers (30-19) at Golden State Warriors (20-27)
7:30 PM PST, March 27, 2012
Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Warriors Projected Starting Line-up

PG: Charles Jenkins
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Dorrell Wright
PF: David Lee
C: Jeremy Tyler

Key Reserves: SG Brandon Rush, SF Richard Jefferson

After suffering a loss to Memphis at home, the Lakers look to regroup and earn a win on the road. Battered and bruised, the Warriors received a boost from their third string point guard, Charles Jenkins. While no one is saying that Jenkins will start a movement like another former third string point guard in New York, he certainly has his team and coached impressed. Hopefully the Lakers will come out with intensity and squelch any of the Warriors’ hopes early on. Oracle Arena is home to some of the rowdiest fans in the NBA, so the sooner the Lakers can take the fans out of the game, the better.

Frontcourt: David Lee is a workhorse who is constantly setting screens and boxing out. His game is not flashy, but he gets results; he’s averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds per game this season. Lee is the only offensive weapon downlow for the Warriors. Jeremy Tyler hasn’t contributed much; in five starts he has more fouls (9) than points (6). Regular starter, Biedrins has been sidelined by an ankle injury. Instead of playing Tyler, the Warriors have opted to run with a smaller lineup and try to outrun their opponents. At the three, Wright is a defensive specialist who splits time with the offensive oriented Jefferson.

Backcourt: Nate Robinson went down with a strained hamstring on March 24th and it’s unknown if he will return to the lineup tonight. The Warriors are supposed to release an update on Stephen Curry, but all signs point to Curry shutting down for the rest of the season. Without Curry and Robinson, the Warriors are down to their third string point guard – Charles Jenkins. On Sunday night Jenkins tallied 27 points and six assists in a fantastic outing against the Trail Blazers. Klay Thompson has emerged as the main shooter for the Warriors. His game is similar to the likes of Ray Allen or Rip Hamilton in that he is constantly moving without the ball and coming off screens ready to shoot. He has a relatively quick release and a very smooth stroke. Off the bench, Rush has contributed in two key categories: three pointers and blocks. He’s an active player who gives the team quality minutes off the bench.

Keys to Lakers’ Victory:

Use the Size Advantage – While Lee may matchup well against Gasol, Bynum should have a field day in the post against rookie Jeremy Tyler. If the Warriors opt to go small, Bynum will still have the advantage over Lee and Gasol will be dominating Jefferson or Wright. The Lakers should run their offense through Gasol and Bynum tonight and take advantage of the clear size and skill differential.

The Little Things that Count – In the loss to Memphis the Lakers failed to box out, switch on screens, and rotate on defense. These things don’t show up on a stat sheet, but they are fundamental aspects of the game which are key to success. Hopefully Coach Brown can fix these mental lapses and get his team in tip top shape as the Lakers approach playoff season.

Let Sessions be the Engine – When Sessions is running the offense, good things happen. Whether he’s driving to the hoop and drawing a foul, knocking down the open jumper or dishing to an open teammate, Sessions always seems to make the right play. The offense flows better when Sessions is the main ball handler.

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