Chucky Atkins and Tierre Brown vs Luke Ridnour and Antonio Daniels:
According to Sonics.com, Luke has been given the starting nod, so I would think this would go into action immediately. So, we have Chucky, who I am still waiting to do anything that will impress me, against one of the upcoming, young PGs in this league. I know Chucky's leg is bothering him or something, but they way he is playing is just not up to par for a Lakers starting PG, if he can't step it up, he is going to get us killed against the better PGs in the league, fortunately, Luke and Daniels are no All Stars. Luke won't have to do a lot to outplay Chucky. Our best bet tonight is for our backup PGs to get going, which is a lot more likely to happen than for Seed of Chucky to be able to contribute anything other than mediocrity. From how things are looking, Tierre will be our backup PG this season and he is exactly the type of PG we need on this team. He fits in perfectly with our fast paced offense, and really likes to get out and run, and can he run. He can break down a defense like a 6 year vet. He can get by All Star PGs, as he proved against Nash. Nothing can stop him from getting to the rim, and then if teams continue to let him, he gets an easy bucket, if not, he gets an easy assists. The nice thing tonight, is that Brown will be going against Daniels, who is not exactly one of the quicker PGs, he is more of a combo guard. I expect for Sasha to see minutes again, probably more than Tierre, but he won't be as impressive, like usual. Also, Bobbitt may see some limited minutes here, if so, it would be against Antonio.
Kobe Bryant vs Ray Allen:
Allen started a war that he didn't want to start or win. He started running his mouth in the papers against Kobe, and it didn't sit well with Kobe. In fact, it has resulted in Kobe calling Ray up and telling him that he is going to bust his (butt). Don't think for a minute that Kobe isn't going to come out tonight ready to backup his statement and show Allen up. These two played against one another in the first pre-season game of the season, and Kobe dropped 35 on Ray "I might be gay" Allen, like it was nothing. This was the game that made most Laker fans jaws drop, Kobe was chunking up 3's like layups, and winning the personal matchup between Allen, only the Lakers lost this one. Tonight, I expect Kobe to have a big game to make a point, I would even venture to say he will get extremely close to the 40 point marker. Kobe played very few minutes last night against the Suns, at least for Kobe, he logged in 24 minutes, so he should be ready to go for this one. Allen has always enjoyed having a big outing against the Lakers, but I think the best thing that he could do tonight, is either fake an injury or make sure he looks photogenic enough, because he is going to end up on the backgrounds of a couple of posters by the time tonight's game is over. Kobe will need to play aggressive D, if he wants to not only score on Ray Allen over and over again, but also want to shut him down, not allowing him to get going offensively. Without Allen scoring, they are going to have a hard time getting numbers on the board, because Lewis is out for this game. Expect a very heated, very good matchup...Kobe wins, of course. Also, Murray will be playing whatever minutes that Ray doesn't, don't expect for it to be very many. I think it would be wise to put Tony Bobbitt on Ron, he is big enough and also quick enough to keep up with him and prevent him from being a big factor for the Sonics tonight. Bobbitt will also get his shots off, something he is no stranger to doing and will do, especially if Tierre is in the game to get him the open looks.
Caron Butler vs Vladimir Radmanovic:
This won't be a great matchup for us. Caron is supposed to be wearing a splint, but it has been bothering him, so he won't wear it, if he doesn't have to. It was obvious that his finger was messed up when he was shooting the ball last night, but that didn't stop him from making an impact on the game against the Suns. When players can't find there shot and can't seem to score, they are supposed to find other means to get involved and Caron did just that, by grabbing 13 rebounds in 26 minutes of play. Vladimir is a taller player than than Caron, so that could give us some problems on both ends of the court. VR can rebound, shoot, and is more athletic than any of the other players that they could start in the place of Lewis. The one plus is that Radmanovic is a poor defender and that's putting it eloquently. Caron is more athletic and hustles more, so I think, even though he is playing injured, he can get the best out of this matchup. JJ and Luke will get some minutes here and there tonight, both should do well against Damien Wilkins.
Lamar Odom and Brian Grant vs Reggie Evans and Nick Collison:
Lamar had a solid game last night, but still nothing that would make Laker fans think that he is on his way out of whatever slump he has gotten himself in. He has been effective passing the ball and on the glass, but he still can't buy a basket, whether it's a 2 pointer, 3 pointer, open shot, contested, inside, outside...it's not falling. Odom has it easy compared to last night, going from guarding Amare to Reggie. Evans strength is on the glass, his weakness is everywhere else. He has extremely limited offensive ability, so Odom should be able to shut him down. Maybe this could be a chance for Lamar to work some on his offensive game, trying to shake off whatever is going on with his game. Next comes Grant, if Grant can play how he did against Amare and the Suns, then he could make a push for the All Star team. He not only scored 22 points, but also grabbed 11 rebounds. Anyone else have flashbacks of the Portland Brian Grant? He is going against the rookie, Nick Collison, who is still trying to get into the swing of things. Put a stronger, bulkier PF on Nick and he will have to work extremely hard just to score a couple of buckets, get a few boards, and not foul out. Easy matchup for Grant. Then we can all be sure that the second year, pre-season phenomenon, Brian Cook will get some minutes too. His shot has been dead on, especially from long range. He has been aggressive on both ends, and playing very good D. He will likely be going against Fortson, unless Rudy decides to match Grant up against Fortson and Cook against Collison. Fortson is a big time hustle player, he likes physical ball, he likes to go after the boards, and the best thing Cook can do is draw him out and shoot on him.
Chris Mihm vs Vitaly Potapenko:
Mihm's first game as a Lakers was Mihm-azing. If he can repeat those results against the same team, we are in for a treat. His last meeting with Pot-a-pen-ko ended with Chris having 5 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 blocks. He has been one of the most consistent/solid players for us this pre-season, I expect the same from him tonight. Hard work, giving it 110% on both ends, going after loose balls, making his shots, gobbling up missed Laker shots, tipping in any shots hanging around the basket, blocking shots, and stopping V-Italy...I know it's not that hard of a task, but someone's got to do it. Mihm will own him, just like the first time around. And we will continue to oooh and aaaaah at Mihm's amazing play this pre-season, as long as he doesn't revert to his Boston ways we are in great shape this season.