Lakers (4-5) @ Nuggets (2-4) Game Preview – 11/13/13
It doesn’t get much tougher than playing the second half of a back-to-back game in the Mile High City. However, the Lakers will do just that tonight when they travel to Colorado to face the Denver Nuggets.
The purple and gold got a satisfying win on Tuesday evening as they got revenge on the New Orleans Pelicans by beating them 116-95. The Lakers got off to a great start against the Pelicans and never looked back – in fact, they scored over 30 points in every quarter apart from the opening 12 minutes after holding New Orleans to just 19 points in the first quarter – and they’ll have to give a similar effort out of the gates tonight if they want to return home to Los Angeles as a .500 team.
One big reason for the Lakers’ success was the performance by Jordan Hill, who was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time this season. The big man scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the process, all the while bringing that same energy and toughness that we are all used to seeing from him on a nightly basis.
Steve Blake also filled in for the injured Steve Nash and did a great job of doing his best impression of the Canadian. Blake finished the game with a game-high 10 assists after tearing the defense apart with his dribbling and on-point bounce passes throughout the night.
The attack kept coming when Jordan Farmar checked into the game, too, as the two-time NBA champion ended the contest with an impressive 9 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds in just 21 minutes of play.
Despite Hill and Wesley Johnson moving to the starting lineup, the bench still produced last night: Nick Young’s 17 and Xavier Henry’s 15 (and 3 steals) helped the second unit put together a total of 56 points.
While Henry’s most impressive move was a humungous slam over former teammate Jeff Withey, his overall performance throughout the night was encouraging. Henry’s 15 points came on 6-for-8 shooting and he didn’t miss from deep as he converted on all three of his tries from behind the arc. After struggling in recent times, it was good to see Henry get back to the kind of play we saw from him at the start of the year.
The matchup between Jordan Hill and Kenneth Faried will be key tonight – that’s if Faried is still in town when the game begins. The Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks are said to be in trade talks involving Faried, though no deal is thought to be imminent.
If Faired is still indeed a member of the Nuggets by the time the game gets underway, the Lakers’ very own energy and rebounding man will have to make sure he can control “The Manimal”.
Hill will likely be guarding Faried from the get-go and will also have to do his best to box out Denver’s leading rebounder.
It’d also be a help if the Lakers could get the Nuggets’ big men in foul trouble tonight seeing as they are lacking in frontcourt depth after JaVale McGee went down with a leg injury earlier this week.
Kobe Bryant (Achilles) – out
Jordan Hill (knee) – probable
Steve Nash (back) – out
Wilson Chandler (hamstring) – questionable
JaVale McGee (leg) – out
Danilo Gallinari (knee) – out
The game starts at 6:00 pm PST and will be broadcast live on TWC SportsNet.