After consecutive losses for the second time this season, the Lakers look to get back to winning ways against the Pelicans – a team that just beat them a few days ago.
The last time we saw our men in purple and gold, they were letting the Timberwolves score at will in an ugly home loss.
In that loss, Steve Nash left the game with a back issue, and it has now been reported that he will be out a minimum of two weeks due to nerve damage. It’s very sad that Nash’s time with the Lakers has been plagued with injuries, and this seems to be a serious one. We can only hope that he can return and go out on his own terms.
With Nash out, Steve Blake will take on his role as point guard, and Jodie Meeks will start at shooting guard. However, this won’t be the only change to the starting lineup. According to reports, Jordan Hill will replace Chris Kaman to play next to Pau Gasol. This will be the Lakers’ sixth different lineup this season.
Was Xavier Henry just a fluke? He seemed like a light of hope in the beginning of the season. A hidden gem if you will. Henry was averaging 14 points a game in the Lakers’ first four games of the season. He made the team more dynamic and brought in extra energy – needed energy. In the last four games all that has disappeared. Henry has only been averaging four points a game and has had little effect on games. The Lakers need him to be productive to help their chances of success.
Gasol needs to be more of a threat on the offensive end. Yes, he has been a great at getting rebounds (averages 11 per game), but he has been getting eaten up by defenders lately. In his last three games, Gasol is averaging seven points on a poor 26 percent shooting. It should also be noted that the last time he played against the Pelicans, Anthony Davis absolutely destroyed him. Gasol shot 25 percent in that game and was blocked five times by Davis. That can’t happen again tonight.
Steve Blake might be the only bright spot in the Lakers’ recent struggles. In the last three games, Blake is averaging 15 points (50 percent shooting), six assists and three rebounds a game. He has been consistently bailing his team out on bad possessions with last-second jumpers, and at the moment he might be the most dependable person for Mike D’Antoni – consequently, he is playing the most of any Laker (31 minutes a game).
Anthony Davis anyone? It’s still hard to believe it’s only his second year in the league. The man’s average stat line is pretty awesome – 22 points (46% FG, 87% FT), 12 rebounds, four blocks, two steals and two assists a game. Did I mention he had his best game as a professional against the Lakers? Well, he did. Only a few days ago, Davis was dominating the Lakers with 32 points on 67 percent shooting, twelve rebounds and six blocks. He is an absolute monster, and the Lakers must do everything imaginable to make sure he doesn’t repeat his last performance against them.
Although Davis stole the show in their last meeting, Jrue Holiday was also very effective. Despite a poor shooting performance (5-for-15), Holiday had a very nice double-double of 13 points and 13 assists. He’s been effective all season (14 points and seven assists a game) and his effectiveness really helps Davis perform. If the team can slow down Holiday, it might help them slow down Davis.
Expected Stating Lineups
Key reserves: Jordan Farmar, Chris Kaman, Wesley Johnson and Xavier Henry
Key reserves: Tyreke Evans, Greg Stiemsma, Brian Roberts and Anthony Morrow
This was an article by Andrew Ross. You can follow him on Twitter here: @AJRoss94.