(Courtesy: L.A. Times)
Eight pre-season games seemed longer that it really is. That’s why it’s such a blessing the Lakers are about to wrap up these exhibition games tonight against the same Golden State Warriors they beat last night in San Diego, 120-99. Tonight’s rematch is coming from Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California. This is the 3rd season in a row the Lakers have been holding a pre-season game in this side of L.A. and the turnout has been great so far!
On the technical side, the Lakers are trying to win their second straight game to finish out the pre-season at 4-4. On pure team status, the purple and gold are simply trying to get some good momentum going for Game 1 of the long season while having the new players get acquainted with everything they need to know and do for this team.
The Laker offense Thursday night finally got out of the gates after suffering some pretty weak shooting. They ended the game shooting at an even 56% from the field and 58.8% from behind the arc. Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Steve Blake and Shannon Brown were the scoring punch for the Lakers while Matt Barnes, Devin Ebanks and Theo Ratliff helped out on defense. We’ll see if the Lakers can duplicate their production tonight.
Kobe Bryant is expected to play. Phil Jackson will miss his second straight game.
What to Look for Against Golden State
• An aggressive Monta Ellis: Monta played nearly 22 minutes last night but only managed 4 points. He never got anything going up getting called up for his 3rd personal foul just in the 1st quarter, and he isn’t even guarding Kobe.
• A better shooting Stephen Curry: Yes, he led the Warriors with 19 points. But he needed 19 shots to get it. Expect him to try to light up the Lakers tonight.
• Laker defense: That’s the one area Phil wants the players to make a priority of this season. We all know the Lakers don’t have a problem with scoring, but their defense never reached its peak until Game 7 of the Finals last season. I’m guessing Phil doesn’t want his players to go on cruise control all season long.
• Kobe Bryant: His knee got an extra day of rest yesterday. Let’s see how he runs, change direction, jump, cut and move laterally tonight. I’m betting he’ll be good to go.
Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. (PST). Citizens Business Bank Arena (Ontario, CA). TV: KCAL-9 Radio: 710/1330 AM ESPN.