Record: 16-21 (Pythagorean 14-23), 12th seed in the West
Record last 10 games: 6-4
Offensive Rating: 107.6 (12th in league)
Defensive Rating: 108.5 (20th in league)
The Lakers coming in: The Miami game was one of the more complete Laker games of the season â€” sparked by good defense, particularly in the first half.
A quick thought about the offense â€” it is much better when there is a second player doing some dribble penetration. Itâ€™s usually Odom, sometimes Smush, but when one of them can take their man off the dribble â€” so all of that doesnâ€™t fall to Kobe â€” the Laker offense is at its best. Which is why we need more games out of Odom like the Miami one.
The Rivalry: Is there really still a rivalry here? Iâ€™m not sure we down here in L.A. ever really thought there was one, we just had some tough games with them back in the early part of the Oughts (is that what weâ€™re calling this decade?). But it was just the same as playing Portland or Utah to most of us.
However, the hatred for LA and its basketball team never went away up in that town where Schwarzenegger lives part time. Just check out the usually great Sactown Royalty blog, where Tom has done a â€œFive most hated Lakers of all timeâ€ countdown. And he even takes out one of his own in the process. This is what hate can do to you â€” Tom, the guy behind that blog, is a very bright and reasoned man, I like him. But when talking about the Lakers he goes from Michael Corleone to Sonny.
Introductions Iâ€™d like to see: Peja, Iâ€™d like you to meet Ronny Turiaf. He had open-heart surgery back in the fall but is ready to play now, having battled his way to a Laker contractâ€” all on effort and desire. Just thought you two should meet.
About the Kings: Yes they have struggled this season, but they have played well of late, including a 30-point thrashing of the Phoenix Suns two nights ago. In that game Brad Miller was one assist away from a triple-double and some guy named Francisco Garcia had a career high in points.
Tonight the Kings will get back Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who is coming back to play just a couple of weeks after his jaw was broken â€” heâ€™ll be playing with it still wired shut. Heâ€™s been giving the Kings 18.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per 40 minutes, with an impressive true shooting percentage of 60.5%. They also will get back Peja Stojakovic, from a hangnail or whatever, but this could be good for the Lakers â€” in the last five games he played he has shot just 44.6% (eFG%) and hasnâ€™t been quite the huge threat he used to be all season.
Get to know the names Kevin Martin and Kenny Thomas. Thomas is a four who can hit the boards hard (grabbing 14.1% of the rebounds while he is on the floor this season) and is shooting 55.8% in the last 10 games, getting a bump in run while Abdur-Rahim was injured. Martin is a guard getting a bump in playing time while Peja was injured, and is shooting 57.3% (eFG%) in the last 10 games, and is shooting 44.4% from beyond the arc.
Reasons the Lakers need to win: I made a bet with Tom of Sactown Royalty: The winner gets to post a picture on the otherâ€™s blog. I donâ€™t really want to look at a photo Peja wincing in pain â€” or whatever heâ€™s going to post â€” when I log onto my blog. Also, I’ll take suggestions on what photo I should post on Sactown when the Lakers win.