Right when there seemed to be no more hope for the Los Angeles Lakers (19-25), Kobe Bryant changed his game to lead the team to consecutive wins, including a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The two teams met previously this season, and you can look back on that game here.
Despite the Hornets’ record, they are a team that can win on any night when they are playing well, and the Lakers cannot afford to overlook them. Just this month, the Hornets have beaten teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, and Memphis Grizzlies.
At this point in the season, every game is a must win game for the Lakers, and they must bring that kind of intensity tonight.
Also, tonight’s game marks the return of point guard Steve Blake, who has been out of action since November 11 last year. Mike D’Antoni said Blake will play tonight.
The last time these two teams met Anderson had a huge game with 31 points on 57% shooting from the field, and also added nine rebounds. On the season Anderson is averaging 17 points and seven rebounds, and is a huge piece to any success this team sees. Whoever guards Anderson must play great defense on him, and limit the amount of open looks he gets.
Kobe “Magic Johnson” Bryant
Over the last two games Bryant is averaging 17.5 points on 69% shooting, and is also adding 14 assists and nine rebounds a game. The world isn’t used to seeing Bryant in this facilitator role, but rather they are used to seeing him as a scorer that takes well over 20 shots a game. However, the team has looked completely different the last two games, and the biggest reason is the play from Bryant. It appears that this may be a blueprint for success to go on for the rest of the season.
KEY TO A LAKERS VICTORY
With Bryant playing as a facilitator it gets the whole team more engaged by making their offense much better, and also pushes players to play with more energy on the defensive side of the ball. In their big win against the Thunder, four players scored at least 15 points, and that is the type of team ball the Lakers want to see the rest of the season. If the Lakers play as a unit for an entire 48 minutes, this game shouldn’t be close.
PROJECTED STARTING LINE-UPS
Los Angeles Lakers
PG: Steve Nash
SG: Kobe Bryant
SF: Earl Clark
PF: Metta World Peace
C: Dwight Howard
New Orleans Hornets
PG: Greivis Vasquez
SG: Eric Gordon
SF: Al-Farouq Aminu
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Robin Lopez
The game starts at 7:30pm PST and will be broadcast on TWC SportsNet and NBA TV.