Chucky Atkins, Tierre Brown, Tony Bobbitt, and Sasha Vujacic vs Speedy Claxton and Derek Fisher:
Backup point guards vs backup point guards. Chucky has had sub-par performance, after sub-par performance. He is really struggling right now, let's hope it's not a George type slump that lasts for his entire career. He has yet to do anything that would get fans confident in the Lakers starting point guard situation. We have a backup PG starting, that means that against most teams, the point guard matchup will be our weakest. And if the player that is likely to be our backup PG, Brown, keeps playing like he is, then he will be able to beat out Chucky for the starting spot...scary, huh? Well, this is the second meeting between the fan favorite that left the Lakers and the current Lakers. Fisher left us, seeking more playing time and the almighty dollar, he's found both in Golden State. Fish has gotten the starting nod from the Warriors, but will be splitting the time pretty evenly with Speedy. Fisher has had a very strong pre-season, thus far, and is likely to have a season of putting up those type of numbers (12+ points, a few rebounds, and a few assists). This is going to be a running matchup with the point guards, Speedy isn't named Speedy for nothing, and Atkins can keep up with him. Brown had a magnificent game against the Sonics but hasn't seen a lot of playing time since then. Rudy is trying to find out who will be his backup PG and is experimenting, by trying to play all of his options as much as he can. Sasha has had a couple of solid games and Bobbitt has been doing ok. I expect that Rudy will play Tierre some big minutes again, so he can get a better feel of who is doing the best; Brown, Bobbitt, or Sasha. I expect all them to get some playing time tonight, Sasha will get his shots off, Tierre will get some assists and attack the basket, and Bobbitt will do what he likes to do...shoot. I think this will be a better, more rounded point guard matchup tonight, than it was on Sunday.
Kobe Bryant vs Jason Richardson:
The Lakers play tomorrow night too, so that means that Rudy will probably try to sit Kobe a little bit more tonight. I would only expect for him to play 27-30 minutes tonight. With Caron starting, this means that Jones and Bobbitt will see more time at the two guard. J-Rich isn't a really good shooter shooter, but can get going on the offensive end pretty quick. He likes to attack the rim and gets after the missed shots, but that's about it. I wouldn't expect to see Richardson get anything over 20 tonight, while Kobe will have another 30+ point night. Jason isn't exactly what you would call a good defender, he's not horrible, but the new Kobe, who resembles a tank, should have no problem moving Richardson around wherever he is. I am expecting a couple of flashy dunks from each of these guards, and for Kobe to jack up some more 3's, like they are layups. Jason has a tough night ahead of him. Cheaney is off to a poor start this pre-season, and if he has to guard Kobe or Caron, it's just going to get that much worse. If I were him, I would fake an injury, let Fish play some two.
Caron Butler vs Mike Dunleavy:
Jr. is one of the best players that the Warriors have playing for them and they are extremely high on him. Caron is our third option, and is coming off a great game against the Kings. Mike is going to get double digits in scoring, but if Caron can stay aggressive on D and keep a hand in his face, he should be able to prevent Mike from doing a lot. We have seen what the Lakers have been raving about in training camp with Butler in his game against the Kings, if he can keep that level of play up, then he is ready for a great game and a great season. Rudy said he loves his energy, he's obviously gotten stronger (who wouldn't if they were practicing with Kobe), and his shot has some better form to it. Butler is a fast, athletic scorer and can also get after loose balls, better than most on the team. Since Rudy wants to play Odom a decent bit tonight and tomorrow, I would expect to see Caron used more tonight and carry more of the load than Odom.
Lamar Odom, Brian Grant and Brian Cook vs Troy Murphy and Clifford Robinson:
The Warriors have been alternating their starting PF, but I would look for Cliff to play most of the minutes against Odom and Grant, then we will likely see Cook and Murphy matched up against one another. Odom still hasn't found himself comfortable with the Lakers offense and hasn't started making his shots yet either. He has been able to pull down the rebounds and play some defense, but he hasn't been able to do much else, yet. That is a big reason why Rudy isn't going to rest him much, and play him in tonight's game, and tomorrow's game, as well. Grant will see some time here and the rest backing up Mihm. He will bring in some low post scoring against the Warriors, since they don't have a low post presence, he should fare decently tonight. And I think Rudy will go to Cook again tonight. He had a great game against the Kings and I think we all want to see if he can repeat those same type of results.
Chris Mihm vs Dale Davis:
Dale doesn't even play half of the game, but he gets things started off for the Warriors. He's coming off solid performances, but the athleticism of Mihm might prevent him from having another solid game. Mihm has been one of the most impressive players this pre-season and since he won't be facing any real inside talent tonight, he will have another big game. Other than Kobe, he has been our most impressive player in the pre-season, so far. He has been hustling after loose balls, blocking and altering shots, rebounding the ball on both ends, and giving the Lakers one of their most athletic big men. Mihm worked on his game this summer, and that has been quite obvious whenever he is on the floor, let's hope for the same results. This shouldn't be a difficult matchup for Chris, considering Davis isn't exactly the most mobile, athletic big man out West. In fact, if he can still get off the ground, which is questionable, look for his shots to be sent flying the opposite way from a Mihm block. Davis will try to get some mid range shots off, if Mihm starts packing his shots in the paint, so this means that Mihm will have to come out on him, which is something that he will do, unlike our previous center. Mihm and Grant will play most of the minutes at center tonight, I expect to see Grant get some more minutes, since we play again tomorrow. Grant and Davis would be a decent matchup too. I think Grant's minutes will slowly go up and we will see better and better production from him.