For the second time in three nights, the Lakers will host the Denver Nuggets in a preseason game to be played at Citizens Bank Business Arena in Ontario.
This time, Kobe will accompany the team on the hour-or-so trip to Ontario, as he’s reportedly returned from receiving plasma therapy on his knees in Germany.
Tonight, I’ll be interested to see how the offense looks after a borderline abysmal showing in the game against the Nuggets on Tuesday night. The Lakers shot 32.3% for the game and looked out of sorts often on the offensive end. Nick Young has been doing Nick Young things, going 4-16 and not showing even a hint of hesitation to fire up contested jumpers. I realize that the L.A. native will need to take on a bigger scoring role with Kobe’s absence, but for the Lakers to have any sort of sustained success, he’ll need to look to his teammates with far more frequency.
I’ll also be keeping an eye on Steve Nash, who, despite showing flashes of vintage Nash with a few fancy passes, went scoreless and sat out the second half. With this current roster, Nash is the team’s third best player, and he’ll need to put the ball in the basket consistently for the Lakers to stay in games. If only we could transport some of Nick Young’s shots to Nash, who’s statistically one of the very best shooters in NBA history.
Xavier Henry has been a bright spot for the Lakers in the young preseason. After shocking, well, everyone with a 29-point outburst against the Warriors in the first game, Henry had another strong showing on Sunday night, going 4-7 and 7-9 from the line for 15 points. If he can keep up this type of efficient production, his minutes and role will only continue to expand. Also, keep an eye on Pau, who is no doubt enjoying space in the front court that he so famously lacked last year.
Wesley Johnson will likely be out for the Lakers, who is listed as day-to-day after an MRI revealed he has a strained foot.