Archives For Game Preview

If the Lakers learned anything in their Friday night (122-113) loss to the Suns it’s that playing hard and smart is not an option. This, in theory, is a lesson already known, but when you’re facing a team for the third time and have already beaten them twice, when that same team is playing on the 2nd night of a back to back and gave up 90 points in a half just a night earlier, sometimes those lessons don’t always stick.

The Lakers learned the hard way that the Suns weren’t there just to give them another notch in the W column and instead were their to kick their butts. The Lakers didn’t sort it all out until they were in a hole and this time couldn’t slow Devin Booker down the stretch. The result was an L and it’s on to the next one.

That next one is tonight, against the Denver Nuggets, a team with a record reflective of their preseason expectations. The Nuggets are currently 9-5, 5th in the West, and playing to their profile of a prolific offense with a defense just good enough to not allow teams to simply pile up points. Denver is 5th in offense, 17th in defense and this is the profile of a firm playoff team even in a conference that is so unforgiving the juggernaut Warriors aren’t even in 1st place right now.

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Laker Game Preview: the Phoenix Suns

Sten Ensberg —  November 17, 2017 — 

The Lakers face off against the Suns Friday night in the third installment of the battle for 10th place in the Western Conference. Both teams have struggled recently, the Lakers gave up 46 points to Joel Embiid. The Suns lost by 26 to the Rockets Thursday night (and gave up 90 points in the first half).

Phoenix enters the game having struggled to start the year. They fired their coach, traded Eric Bledsoe, and handed the keys to Devin Booker. Booker has responded by averaging 22.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.7 tantrums per game. The young Suns guard is a phenomenal scorer and actually has hints of Kobe Bryant’s willingness to take bad shots and the ability to make them. Maybe they aren’t bad shots if you make them. I’m not a doctor.

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The Lakers (6-8) have finally returned home and face another exciting young team in the Philadelphia 76ers (7-6). The Lakers are coming off an ugly win 100-93 over the Suns Monday night. Meanwhile the 76ers pulled out an exciting victory over the struggling Clipper behind a career best performance from Joel Embiid (32/16/2).

In many ways the 76ers are a year ahead of the Lakers in exiting the devastating wasteland that is the bottom of the lottery. This year they are experiencing the fruit of their failure. “Rookie” Ben Simmons has been great, averaging 17.8/9.2/7.5. He has offset struggles with his jumper by playing great around the rim.

Joel Embiid, probably my favorite current non-Laker, brings joy to my heart. Whether he is talking trash on social media, talking trash on the basketball court, or talking trash from the injury report – he is always talking. Better yet, he has been backing it up by averaging just over 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. I’m pretty sure he only plays games on Tuesday, Thursdays, and every other Sunday so it remains to be seen whether he will suit up tonight. Early reports indicate he is.

Philadelphia, currently with a team Net Rating of -0.7, is statistically slightly better than the Lakers this year. Robert Covington and Redick have brought some scoring. They combine with the rookies for a 102.8 Offensive Rating (20th in the league).

The most incredible stat of the night, one that I literally had to double check twice and still don’t believe, is that the Lakers are currently ranked 4th in defense (99.7 Defensive Rating) in the National Basketball Association.

The Lakers are happy to be home after a rough road trip against some of the best in the Eastern Conference. They return after going 1 and 3 against the Celtics, Wizards, Bucks, and the Suns who lost a game to Defensive Player of the Year candidate Corey Brewer. With the 3rd worst offense in the league, the Lakers needs to continue some of the shooting they found in Phoenix Monday.

Look for us to try and force Simmons to shoot from beyond 15 feet. I would not be surprised if Luke sends Bogut out again to throw an elbow at Embiid. We’ll look to test him early. If we can bottle up Covington and Reddick the 76ers don’t have enough scoring power to win. At least they should not at the end of a four game road trip. This is the kind of game the Lakers need to show up for, and start winning, if they’re going to exit the lottery any time soon.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on ESPN

The Lakers enter tonight’s game vs. the Suns 5-8 and on a 3 game losing streak. They left Los Angeles nearly a week ago, with a .500 record but losses to the Celtics, Wizards, and Bucks have dropped them downards, with only tonight’s game in Phoenix serving as the buffer between some slight redemption and a winless roadie.

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After starting 5-5, the Lakers have dropped their last two games — back to back contests vs. the Celtics and the Wizards. Neither game was particularly close, though the Lakers have continued to find ways to be competitive for stretches. Luke Walton noted after the Wizards game that he was proud of the physical effort, but after flying cross country and then playing back to back nights, his team didn’t have the mental energy needed which led to mistakes and miscues that cost you versus good teams.

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After losing to the Celtics 107-96 in the first game of a four game road trip, the Lakers don’t have much time to collect themselves with a trip to the nation’s capital today for a matchup with the Wizards.

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The Lakers are 5-5 after beating the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night. That win continued a trend of an offense on the upswing and a defense which has remained surprisingly stout.

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The Lakers are coming off a good win against the Brooklyn Nets, a contest that brought them only a game below .500 behind some strong performances by Brook Lopez, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma. The Lakers new look front court scored, rebounded, and defended well as a trio and really set the tone for the game by taking turns carrying the team each half.

If the Lakers being 4-5 is a surprise, their opponent tonight, the Memphis Grizzlies, coming in at 6-3 and 3rd in the Western Conference is even more of one. It’s hard to ever fully count out the Grizz, but after letting Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, and Vince Carter walk in free agency it was expected there would be a shift in identity from the “grit and grind” moniker the team had come to embody over the past decade. And, with that type of shift and loss of depth, they may end up being a fringe playoff team or out of the postseason entirely.

Of course, that could still end up being true after the slog of an 82 game season. But, as things stand now, the Grizzlies still have Marc Gasol and Mike Conley and that’s what really matters. Because as long as that’s the case, counting them out is (seemingly) a mistake as their 6-3 record reflects. Take that for data.

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