Los Angeles Lakers
) @ Sacramento Kings
Thursday, December 16th
Lakers @ Sonics 108 - 93 (LOSS)
Kings @ Bucks 89 - 86 (WIN)
Projected Starting Lineups
C - Chris Mihm (11.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 0.4 APG)
PF - Lamar Odom (14.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.7 APG)
SF - Caron Butler (13.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.4 APG)
SG - Kobe Bryant (27.1 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 6.8 APG)
PG - Chucky Atkins (10.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.6 APG)
C - Brad Miller (15.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 3.5 APG)
PF - Chris Webber (20.5 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 5.3 APG)
SF - Peja Stojakovic (20.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.9 APG)
SG - Doug Christie (7.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.7 APG)
PG - Mike Bibby (16.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.1 APG)
Factors off the Bench
(Brian Cook, Bobby Jackson)
LAKERS - Kobe Bryant
Predicted Stats: 28 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists
KINGS - Mike Bibby
Predicted Stats: 24 points, 4 rebounds, 11 assists
The Lakers remember November 26th. Thatâ€™s rightâ€¦check your calendarâ€¦where us true Laker fans wrote down the following: Kings visit STAPLES and get destroyed. However, it wasnâ€™t prettyâ€¦and as much as we wanted the Lakers to come in and pick apart the Kingsâ€™ weaknesses, it didnâ€™t happen.
Since then, itâ€™s been the same storyâ€¦with Kobe posting great stats (aside from shooting percentage) and the rest of the team resembles an expansion team. Tonight, the Lakers are going to have to pull it together and not only play team basketball, but also have good individual performances as well. Against the Sonics, the Lakers (without Kobe) shot under 35% (20 of 58, to be exact), while Kobe hit over 50% of his attempts. Letâ€™s not forget to mention Rashard Lewis, who took over the game and dominated Caron Butler for 37 points. Nothing more than a poor performance by the Lakers, even if it is against one of the best teams in the Western Conference.
In Sacramento, the Lakers are going to have to break free of the ball and chain theyâ€™ve been carrying around on defense, because the Kings can (and more than likely will) put up 100+ points against Los Angeles. The matchup advantages lean more towards the Kingsâ€¦with Bibby, Miller, and possibly Peja clearly able to outplay their Laker opponents (especially if Peja gets hot from beyond the arc). Kobe will take advantage of Christieâ€™s injury (ironically, the same foot problems that Kobe is suffering from), and Odom should play well against Webber offensively.
On the boards, Mihm needs to get tough immediately. Lamar wonâ€™t be able to make up for Millerâ€™s boards, so Chris needs to gain position and use his size to pull down more than 8 boards in this game. Otherwise, the Kings will capitalize on second chance points, which could lead to more than just a Miller putback (in other words, watch for a wandering Peja for three). This goes for the offensive glass as well, for the Lakers. Mihm should focus on throwing it down hard when he pulls down an offensive board (or anytime he goes up for an attempt) instead of making a soft shot off the glassâ€¦heâ€™s got the strength, but it seems like heâ€™s scared to use it.
One last factor in this game will be the Lakersâ€™ mindset going into Sacramento. Hopefully, the Lakers come out firing and wanting this game. Kobe and Divac should be focusing on getting the others amped in the locker roomâ€¦ready to come out and shut up the Kings fans. Whether this lasts for four quartersâ€¦weâ€™ll see.
Itâ€™s always nice to predict a Laker win and, at the same time, believe itâ€™ll happenâ€¦but I donâ€™t know about this game. The Kings are toughâ€¦and are definitely looking at demolishing our very own Lakers in Sac-townâ€¦but more than that, the Kings want the Pacific title. In Sacramento, the fans will burn Kobe all game, and the entire team could be affected by thisâ€¦but I see the Kings being aggressive from the start, and running up and down the court all game. If Kobe gets a triple double, the Lakers win by twoâ€¦but Iâ€™m going to lean towards Kobe dropping less than 10 assists due to poor shooting by Butler and Atkins, and the Lakers lose this game to the Kings in Sacramento, 103 - 99.