Los Angeles Lakers game previews between November 7 and November 13, including games against: Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings.
With a 4-3 start, the Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the surprise teams of the young season. Thanks to one of the best benches in the NBA, the baby Lakers have been able to stay competitive in every game thus far, even in the three losses. This week they face the Dallas Mavericks at home and then take the road for three straight games. All four games are winnable and I am intrigued to see how the young team plays on the road.
Tuesday, 8 November 2016 at 10:30 PM ET Home
The Lakers will look for their fourth straight win against the 1-5 Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks poor record has been a result of injuries to two of their best players in Dirk Nowitzki (Achillies) and Deron Williams (calf). Without two of their best players, Dallas has struggled to score, putting up 95.5 points per game which is the third-worst mark in the NBA. A lone bright spot for the Mavericks has been the play of free agent addition Harrison Barnes. Barnes is averaging 20.8 points a game and has scored more than 30 points twice in six games. The offense for this team will surely be much better once Nowitzki and Williams return from injury.
Los Angeles should be able to take advantage in this game once the bench checks in . With Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams on the second unit, the Lakers will have two of the best players on the floor once the starters are out. Julius Randle has made huge strides this season and has been one of the best players for the Lakers this season averaging 14.4 points and 7.9 rebounds. I am interested to see how he attacks the rim with Andrew Bogut on the other side. It will be a good test for the young Laker.
Thursday, 10 November 2016 at 10:30 PM ET Away
Los Angeles head north to face their division counterpart the Sacremento Kings. The Kings snapped a four-game losing streak on Sunday when the beat the Toronto Raptors in Canada. It was a necessary win for a team that had been competitive in most of their games but just were not able to close games out. A bright spot for Sacremento has been the play of Rudy Gay. Gay has been averaging a career-best 22.6 points a game. Gay is taking 16 shots a game but he is also averaging career-high in field goal percentage at 50% The Kings have to be happy with his efficiency as Gay has long been labeled a chucker and his previous high was 46%.
The Lakers will need to limit Gay's damage in order to win this game. Luol Deng and Julius Randle will likely split duties in handling the small forward. Also, Los Angeles will obviously have to contain DeMarcus Cousins in the paint. Timofey Mozgov will have his hands full with Cousins but you have to think games like these are part of the reason why the front office gave Mozgov such a huge contract.
New Orleans Pelicans
Saturday, 12 November 2016 at 07:00 PM ET Away
The New Orleans Pelicans have started the season off with a brutal schedule, facing the Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, and Golden State Warriors twice. The team has no depth due to injuries and have been relying on unknown faces to play a lot of minutes thus far. Jrue Holiday has been away from basketball due to taking care of his wife who just had surgery. The Pelicans have poorly constructed a team around Anthony Davis and will likely be at the bottom of the Western Conference once again unless they make some major upheaval in regards to their roster.
Once again Mozgov will be tested, this time against the superstar Davis. This Pelicans team reminds me of the 06 Lakers, where all opponents knew where the ball was going and who was shooting. Teams would let Kobe shoot as much as he'd like, but would focus on containing the other players on the Lakers. It would make sense for the Lakers to employ the same strategy against Davis, as it is highly unlikely that Langston Galloway or E'Twaun Moore will go off for 30 points. Lakers should be able to win this one with their bench as their depth is much better than the Lakers.
Sunday, 13 November 2016 at 07:00 PM ET Away
The Minnesota Timberwolves have an immense amount of talent but have not been able to finish games which is a mark of a young team. In addition one of the "veterans" on the team, Ricky Rubio, is sidelined with an elbow injury and that has forced rookie Kris Dunn to play many more minutes. Good new for Timberwolves fans is that Karl-Anthony Towns has been excellent as expected and Andrew Wiggins has been a lot more efficient than last year. They may have had a rough start to the season but the wins will come for this team once they start gelling and playing more games together. Also, Tom Thibidou is too good of a coach to let his team falter as the season progresses.
The Lakers shouldn't look at the Timberwolves record as this is a team that is much better than the win-loss total shows. Road games in Minnesota have always been tough for Los Angeles, even during the championship days. Once again the Lakers should be able to take advantage once the bench becomes a factor in this game. Minnesota has not been a good team in closing games out so the Lakers will have to keep a big enough lead to hold off the Timberwolves.