The Lakers’ three game roadie churns on tonight, in Milwaukee, against the Bucks. This after losing on Sunday night to an undermanned, but still game Bulls team who flashed a level of offense they have not all year. The Lakers’ porous defense was a major contributor in Chicago’s success, but this has become somewhat routine for the Lakers that it’s hard to even get too worked up over it all. The Lakers are, after all, last in the league in defensive efficiency.
In any event, the Bucks are on tap and one can likely expect them to offer a strong effort against the Lakers’ struggling defense too. No, the Bucks do not have a lead guard in the Derrick Rose mold who will attack off the dribble, but they do have a Greek Freak, Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker, and Greg Monroe. That foursome hits all the right notes to capitalize on how the Lakers struggle to defend and will look to break the game open using their athleticism, then settling down for bully ball and off the bounce work to get into the paint when the game slows.
The Lakers do have the ability to counter punch, especially when Greg Monroe mans the middle. His ability to defend in space and/or protect the rim are not good, so the Lakers should be able to get some action going to the rim out of the P&R and when working off backside pin-downs and curl actions. They must look to exploit Monroe when he’s on the floor and then make the defense pay by either scoring inside or knocking down outside shots when the defense collapses.
As for individual matchups, the positional battles between both teams starters offer intrigue. Russell vs. Michael Carter-Williams, Clarkson vs. Middleton, Kobe vs. Antetokounmpo, Randle vs. Parker, and Hibbert vs. Monroe are all worth watching closely. If two or three of these battles strongly favor one team, that side is likely to win the game. I am particularly looking forward towards how Randle and Parker deal with each other. Coming out of the same draft, there are some bragging rights in their match up and I’m interested in seeing how Randle attacks Parker out of his face-up post game and how, on the other side of the ball, he deals with Parker’s jumper and off the dribble attacking style.
Where you can watch: 5:00pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.