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Lakers/Bucks: Kobe and Co. look to avoid three game skid against surging Bucks

2010/2011 NBA Season


5-5 (3-2 home) 8-2 (2-1 road)
November 16, 2010
Bradley Center
7:00 PM CT
Radio: 620 WTMJ TV: FSN Wisconsin
Probable starters:
Brandon Jennings
Derek Fisher
John Salmons
SG Kobe Bryant
Luc Mbah a Moute SF Ron Artest
Drew Gooden
PF Lamar Odom
Andrew Bogut
C Pau Gasol

(28th) 99.8 - OFFENSE -  116.7 (1st)
(1st) 96.9 - DEFENSE - 107.5 (15th)
(24th) 91.3  - PACE -  96.4 (6th)

On the Lakers:

Silver Screen and Roll / Forum Blue & Gold

Offense/Defense. Let's hope that the old "good defense beats good offense" adage holds true. The Bucks enter game 11 of the season ranked first in both raw points allowed and (the generally more insightful) points allowed per possession, while the Lakers rank first in both points scored and (the generally more insightful) points scored per possession. And to further hammer home the contrast between the two teams, Milwaukee plays slow while the Lake Show operates at one of the league's fastest paces. Read: something's gotta give.  

Streaks. The Lakers started the season with eight straight wins but have dropped their last two, on the road in Denver and a surprising home defeat on Sunday night against the Suns. Defense was the culprit in both games, as they surrendered 121 and 129 pts/100 possessions, respectively.

Star Pau-er. The talk at practice on Monday was predictably all about Kobe, who is putting up his predictable 25/5/5 despite playing just 33.3 mpg--the first time he's averaged fewer than 36 mpg since he was a teenager (in case you're wondering, he's now 32). But how about the Big Catalan? Pau Gasol is scoring and rebounding at career-high rates (both in per minute and raw terms), which is a big reason why L.A. has yet to miss the perpetually banged-up Andrew Bynum (knee surgery).  

Bogey. Andrew Bogut hasn't had too much to do with the Bucks' recent offensive explosions, which is why it'd be nice to see the Bucks trying to run more set plays for him--you know, the ones where they use screens in the lane to flash him into deep position in the paint. Bogut five feet from the hoop is infinitely more effective than Bogut 15 feet from the hope, especially when he's still lacking confidence in his right hand.  While Pau dropped a monster 26/22 line in the Lakers' overtime win in Milwaukee last year, Bogut shot just 33.3% in two games against the Lakers last year.

Injuries. Starting PF Lamar Odom has been a double-double machine thus far, putting up 15/11 on a terrific 59% shooting from the field, and all while struggling with an aching foot that was deemed MRI-worthy on Monday. He's expected to start against the Bucks, as is former Buck (/Buck killer) Steve Blake, who missed the last game with a stomach virus.

For the Bucks, Carlos Delfino is listed as questionable with a neck strain, though he blogged over the weekend that he'll probably be out a couple weeks with a concussion. It's a similar timeline for Chris Douglas-Roberts, still recovering from eye surgery. Via Gery Woelfel, Brandon Jennings is expected to play despite a sore Achilles. Hopefully that doesn't become lingering thing...

Luc and Ron. You'd have a hard time finding two guys matched up who are each so much better defensively than offensively, so it stands to reason that the starting small forwards won't do a whole lot offensively on Tuesday night. Then again, why waste the defensive presences of Ron Artest and Luc Mbah a Moute by having them defend players as offensively limited as each other?

Luc has been worse than ever offensively (40% fg, 62% ft), but he does everything else and it's showing in the Bucks' on/off stats: the Bucks are nearly 9 pts/100 possessions better on defense with Luc in the game and they're surprisingly better on offense too, owing mostly to the Bucks' much better offensive rebounding with Luc on the court (31% vs. 26% rebound rate). Luc is second among SFs in offensive rebound rate (10%), trailing only the Lakers' Matt Barnes.

As for Artest, he doesn't rebound particularly well and his scoring ability has fallen off a cliff since his earlier days, but it's not like the Lakers really need him to do either. I'm guessing both will see ample time defending the other team's go-to scorers (Kobe, Salmons/Maggette).