The Los Angeles Lakers host the defending Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs tonight, at the Staples Center. The Lakers and their fans brought back to reality after the team taken apart in Oakland, CA. Coming into this season, seeing two playoff teams at the top of the schedule, any supporter of purple and gold would gladly accept a 1-1 record at this point.
The Spurs swept the Lakers out of the 2012-13 NBA Playoffs. The Lakers had beaten the Spurs a few days before the playoff series, but their center at that time, was playing as if he was suffering from GERD or that there was some food lodged in his throat.
The Spurs are a well coached team that presents a lot of problems. The Spurs perform on the court like a well-oiled machine on both ends of the court. It is a work in progress, but the Lakers success or failure this season will depend solely on their defense. The Lakers can not allow teams, in this league, to shoot over 50-percent from the field and expect success.
The Lakers have to pay close attention to detail and step up their game defensively to have any chance to compete against the Spurs tonight. Those details are to keep Tony Parker out of the paint, communicate on defense, get back in transition, stop the dribble penetration, defend the pick and roll play, rebound and stay at home with the shooters. The Spurs are not a fast break team, but Tony Parker is a fast player, the epitome of a one-man fast break.
The Lakers need to play aggressive with the same energy and enthusiasm displayed in the season opener every night. Head Coach Mike D'Antoni looks as if he is still solidifying his rotation although he now has three guards that can run his system. The Lakers need to increase Pau Gasol's shot attempts; he has taken 22 shots in two games.
The purple and gold do a good job of executing Coach D'Antoni's dribble pitch which is one of his versions of the pick and roll, but it is highly effective in ball handlers getting wide open shots behind the arc. The Lakers reserves are averaging 64 points per game and need to continue to contribute. The purple and gold need solid ball movement, excellent player movement while executing the offense to find a high percentage shot.
Lakers: S. Nash, S.Blake, N. Young, S. Williams, P.Gasol
Spurs: T. Parker, D. Green, K. Leonard, T. Duncan, T. Splitter
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
• Los Angeles: TWC Sportsnet (Bill Macdonald & Stu Lantz)
• San Antonio: Fox Sports Southwest (Bill Land & Sean Elliott) Radio -
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
• San Antonio: WOAI-AM 1200 (Bill Schoening)
Lakers: • Kobe Bryant (Torn Achilles) Out
Spurs: • Tim Duncan (Chest Contusion) Doubtful
Jeff Little is the host of "The Locker Room" a daily sports talk radio show based out of Los Angeles 6-8 pm PST www.sportsjourney.com Follow on twitter @JeffLittle32, Facebook, Pinterest