Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Bobcats

Darius Soriano —  January 31, 2014

First things first, whatever reinforcements the Lakers hoped to get back tonight aren’t yet ready to return. Steve Nash was the most likely to actually return, but he ruled himself out for tonight after Thursday’s practice. Steve Blake and Farmar are hopeful to return soon, but Farmar sounds further away than Blake (who could play as soon as Tuesday just like Nash).

So the Lakers go into action with the same group they’ve had, though with a banged up Pau Gasol (who is still having big toe and residual issues with his groin) and Jodie Meeks still dealing with his sore foot. They will battle tonight, much as they did against the Pacers, but we will see how long they can go (and if they get the needed rest in this game should the contest become decided earlier in the 4th quarter than the final few minutes). Hopefully both guys can stay strong and neither get pushed too hard.

As for the opponent, the Bobcats come in winners of three of their last five games including nice victories over the Clippers, Raptors, and Nuggets. The Bobcats hang their hat on defense, ranking in the top 10 of defensive efficiency, though they have slipped some on that end of late. They are well coached on that end (former Lakers’ assistant Steve Clifford did learn at the feet of the Van Gundy brothers) and play hard, even though they have a couple of players who aren’t exactly defensive stoppers.

The Cats need to be strong on D because their offense is one of the lesser outfits in the league. This will be even truer tonight with Kemba Walker likely to be out with a sprained ankle. This isn’t to say that they don’t have any threats on O as former Jazz big man Al Jefferson anchors the middle with his ability to get buckets from the post and from the mid-range. Gerald Henderson isn’t necessarily a prolific (or efficient) scorer, but he is quite capable of getting hot and can hurt you when he does. And then, of course, there is former Laker Ramon Sessions who, as we all remember, can do damage in the open court and when turning the corner in the P&R. He can also hit from deep when spotting up, but he should still be forced to show he can actually knock those down before he’s shown too much respect.

In terms of the match ups, then, I’d bet this game comes down to who can win the big man match up between Gasol and Jefferson and also which group of streaky wings can hit the most shots at the highest clip. Considering the Lakers are at home, the hope is that they can put together enough good performances from Meeks, Young, and Johnson (with some Marshall thrown in) to counter what Sessions, Henderson, and Kidd-Gilchrist can provide for the Cats. I’d say you should expect the Lakers to come out on top in this one, but we all know the Lakers — at least this version — can’t ever be considered a favorite.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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42 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Bobcats

  1. Lakers are only 1/2 game out of last place in the West ahead of Kings who has been playing w/o their “should have been an All-Star” center DeMarcus Cousin. Here’s hoping he returns w/ a vengeance tonight vs. the Mavs.

  2. Hmmm. Wonder if Nick Young will look at tonight’s opponent and based on their record, underestimate them as he recently admitted he often does. Talk about being delusional.

  3. Sid,
    Young didn’t make those comments about himself, but rather the entire team. Based off some of the letdowns the team has had against similarly talented teams, he’s probably right.

  4. darius: with the near and eventual return of one or more of the laker point guards, tonite would be the perfect opportunity to further strenghten his position to remain in the rotation: i’m talking about kendal marshall. needs to continue to play to his strengths; which is positioning the other players on the court; pass and set up others and make the occassional outside shot. a real bonus would be to show that he can stay in front of his man on defense.

    wouldn’t be such a bad idea if the other lakers on the team do the same: stay in front of their man on defense. would go far to show that there’s something ticking not only in their heads but in their hearts as well.

    guys: make the effort; stay aggressive.

    Go lakers

  5. Macroberts is a better player then Kelly and they let him go for nothing. He can actually jump off the floor and defend.

  6. Ko, I really like McHops, I think his biggest sin was that he was friends with Bynum.

  7. This defense is a joke. Meeks and Marshall can not stop any point guard in the league.

  8. Ko you just discovered America, the Lakers gave up 31 on the 1st quarter to a team that avg 94 a game and people act surprised. Useless to complain about the defense at this point we know its horrible.

  9. Fern’s break from the site was a pretty short one. ;-)

  10. Question?

    Who in the NBA can this team beat?

    60 points in half

    Zero offensive rebounds for Lakers

    Joke

  11. Any other coach would be yelling and pulling guys for this lack of effort. Not this guy.

  12. Why do people at game not boo. Guess they must have been given free tickets by former fans.

  13. Lakers are the worst third quarter team in the league, so many games lost in this quarter. Lakers should skip half-time.

  14. That’s a condemnation of the lack of adjustments and coaching at halftime IMO.

  15. You mean that these guys have better personnel then the Lakers? Three are Ex-Lakers .

    Guess the ex-Laker coach must be the difference.

  16. I try to watch the games even though this year is a mess. Tonight I turned it off at halftime.

    I guess the plus side is a top-5 draft pick. I’d prefer to avoid watching/knowing about the losses it’ll take to get there.

  17. No semblance of defense on one end, just jack up shots on the other. Is this what it looks like when a team is run by idiots?

  18. Funny

    Worthy and Walton blasting the coach on TW tonight.

    Same thing people were yapping about that Magic was doing.

    Perhaps it’s the truth that “people can’t handle”

  19. How bad can it get??
    The wheels have come off. Completely.
    If even Worthy and Walton are calling out the coach, how long will it be before the FO does something about it?
    My guess is they’re being penny-wise and pound-foolish, trying to save money by avoiding paying both MDA and his replacement until next season.
    Yes we’re ravaged by injury but a team has to make a respectable effort.

    Fo, our record with Marshall at PG is atrocious obviously but I don’t blame him. His court vision and unselfishness are excellent. I think he’ll retain some PT even after our core guards return.

  20. JC

    I read a interesting tweet on Kevin Dings twitter account.

    “Any FO who wanted to win would have fired this coach a month ago. It’s called Coach Tanking.

  21. If the FO want to change coach, it gives sense to wait a little. Let this season run along a little longer, then with 10 games left, you have positioned yourself for the draft, and the new coach can come in and start setting a new course. But the season will be too old for any expectations to be put on him.

    But then everything is in place for the offseason, player know which direction the club is going etc.

    I know more coaches might be available in the offseason, but in my mind this kind of transition would be ideal.

  22. The freaking Bobcats come to Staples and beat the Lakers so bad, that their reserves are just whooping it up on the bench in the 4th! Injuries notwithstanding, this is a team with no guidance and absolutely no defensive presence. Sad times in Lakerland, indeed.

    It really saddens me that this guy sitting on the bench, whom I won’t dignify by calling him a coach, can’t find some time for a competent big man like Kaman in his convoluted vision of how basketball should be played. Have to believe that MD’A is under orders to tank, because nobody could be so clueless and stubborn.

  23. @ rr i know, misery needs company :(. I cant handle this alone i need a hug.

  24. Funny how the people who complain about the losses and lack of effort are the same that advocate tanking. SMH

  25. Tanking: I have not seen anyone here say that the team on the floor or the coaches should tank. They should always try and if they do not – there are integrity of game issues. The FO making moves to get worse in the short run, and better in the long run is what most refer to as tanking, and while not pleasant – it is a valid strategy that can be considered.
    MannyP: Game threads are always filled with emotional comments That is what they are for. Don’t SYH at the posters above. Shake your head at those who only post in threads when the team is winning titles Everyone here is a pretty loyal fan I would say.
    Ding/Walton/Worthy Add them all to the list of people who have lost their minds and are unfairly criticizing.
    J C: “How bad can it get??” That question has been asked a number of times over the past year or so and Yes it can get worse. However, you and I should not be having this discussion – the FO might be reading and it might hurt their feelings.

  26. Funny tweet

    Do the Lakers have to defend the ping pong balls?

  27. Again, no defense and no rebounding…

  28. Ko: Why are you up so early? You are supposed to be gambling and partying Or did you stay up all night?
    Bynum with Pacers; Howard with Rockets; D’Antoni with Lakers

  29. “According to the Elias Sports Bureau, their 3-12 mark in January is the first time since February 1964 the Lakers have lost 12 games in a calendar month.” So it’s official, Jan. 2014 was the worst season in Laker history since I became a fan (’65-’66 season).

    Regarding Andrew Bynum, I couldn’t be happier for the guy. Obviously Cleveland was a bad situation to be in. Even their “star” player wants out.

  30. What is in worse shape: our basketball team or our water sources?

    San Antonio has signed Shannon Brown to a 10-day.

  31. Brown, Bynam, Sessions, McRoberts, Barnes, Ariza?

    Who says the Lakers don’t have talent?

  32. Ko,

    I recall last year getting called out by a few people when I said that Ebanks, Morris and Duhon were not NBA players. Morris has been let go by the Clippers and 76ers this year, Ebanks was cut by Dallas is in the DLeague, and Duhon was never invited to a camp.

    That said, the FO has done a much better job of picking up cheap guys this year. The Lakers needed this year’s bench last year.

    Also, Pau is having an MRI and is questionable for the road trip.

  33. Bynum with Pacers; Howard with Rockets; D’Antoni with Lakers

    Hilarious

  34. No question this years bench is better. All 11 of them.

  35. I’m at a loss.

    Fern, I need a hug, too.

  36. No question this years bench is better. All 11 of them.

    Pretty much. Many of us suggested in preseason that the Lakers had a nice bench–but not enough talent at the top. .

  37. Well with Pau out a week it looks like Rambis will get to play.

    Since Kamen still will sit.

  38. Hamstring today, groin tomorrow.

    This team needs to pay whoever has their voodoo dolls.

  39. Hale

    Magic and Phil don’t need the money.

  40. Haha Ko
    Hilarious
    Rambis ahead of Kaman
    Or possibly Mark Madsen

  41. Ko
    re K Ding’s coach tank theory
    I think that’s spot on.

    Watching the game last night
    My friend swears the team is tanking
    I objected, saying no player would ever intentionally miss a shot or throw away even a single pass. And no coach would coach to lose.

    Her response: look at their record, the numbers are irrefutable. They’re tanking, regardless of individual intention.
    I scratched my head at that one.
    So maybe they’re tanking–but how?

    Your Ding tweet is the answer.
    Thanks for solving this mystery for me :)