So, we’re not really going to talk about the Pistons game. The Lakers won, and I’ll take it. How they won, well, like I said in the first sentence there. Tonight, the Thunder come to town and the Lakers have an opportunity to play better vs. a team that, like the Pistons, play hard each night and present some matchup challenges that, despite the overall difference in talent between the two rosters, must be accounted for.
First off, however, we should note that Anthony Davis is listed as questionable for this game with what’s being called “right achilles tendinosis”. I’m not a doctor, so I don’t have any thoughts on how serious this may or may not be. That said, because AD is listed as questionable and not doubtful, this feels more like something that is bothering him — and likely has been for a little while — but isn’t considered so severe that he’d be ruled out of the game outright.
That said, I wouldn’t mind if AD sat a game if that’s what is best for him. The Lakers are deep enough to manage any individual game without Davis and if that comes tonight vs. the Thunder so be it. Is it ideal? No — any time one of your best players is out, everything is stretched further and against the right team that could be enough to lead to a loss. The Thunder are a good team and are vulnerable to a player of AD’s specific strengths, but I’d venture to guess that Trez and Kuz could manage just fine.
In terms of what I’m watching for tonight, whether or not AD plays, I’m hoping the Lakers can simply lock in and focus defensively and then turn that into some open court chances. The team has looked better on defense in the last week or so, particularly in their communication and rotations. This has led to an uptick in disruptive possessions where they’re getting deflections or forcing turnovers outright. More of that vs. the Thunder, please.
I’m also hopeful that Dennis Schröder can continue his nice run of offensive performances. In 3 games this month he’s averaging nearly 20 points a game to go along with 5 assists. He’s shooting 71.4% from the floor and hasn’t missed a 3-pointer (3-3) or a FT (16-16) this month. I know these types of numbers aren’t sustainable, but I do like how he’s seemingly finding more comfort in where his shots are coming from and that he’s figuring out what his driving angles will be regardless of who shares the floor with him. If those things can continue, he’ll continue to have a good offensive impact even if there are nights where his jumper isn’t falling.
Besides Dennis, I’m hoping for a bounce back game from THT tonight. The Pistons game saw him make some good plays offensively, but he struggled defensively tracking shooters and in his attentiveness as the lone man on the weakside. This led to several open shots surrendered and some clear frustration on his part as he exited the game for the final time. If there’s one thing I’ve seen from THT this season is that he’s committed to being the best player he can be and often comes back with good focus after a poor game. I hope to see that continue tonight.
Where you can watch: 7:00pm start time on Spectrum SportsNet.