February 6, 2012 Leave a comment
After an impressive win in Denver followed up by a sloppy second half in Utah that resulted in an ugly loss, the Lakers travel to Kobe’s hometown of Philadelphia to take on the Atlantic Division leading 76ers. Here are 5 pre-game story lines for tonight’s game:
Lakers in Philly for East Coast Swing
The Lakers are making like Boyz II Men and doing the whole “Motown Philly back again, doing a little east coast swing” thing on this 6-game road trip. 1-1 so far, a signature win against one of the best teams in the NBA this year would set the tone for the rest of their East coast swing through Boston, New York and Toronto.
Coach Collins, Teach Me How to Doug-ie
Coach Doug Collins and how he is able to teach defense effectively is the biggest reason the Sixers are the NBA’s surprise team so far this season. Philadelphia is stacked with athletic, defensive-minded players like Andre Iguodola and Jrue Holiday who have bought into his system, so it’s no surprise that the Sixers lead the league in numerous defensive categories.
UPS – What can (Coach) Brown do for you?
UPS, mail service suspended. Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown has been suspended for tonight’s game vs. Philadelphia for his actions in Utah in which he bumped a referee accidentally while being ejected. Accident or not Lakers fans, there’s nothing Brown can do for you if he’s not even in the arena.
Injured Elton no Longer a Brand Name
Speaking of being out for tonight’s game, Philadelphia power forward Elton Brand is injured and has been ruled out for tonight’s game meaning the game plan should be to get the ball to Bynum and Gasol early and often tonight. While no longer a NBA brand name and perennial 20 and 10 guy, Elton’s absence from the lineup can only benefit the Lakers.
24 Points needed for #24 Kobe to pass Shaq
Motown Philly is more like Hometown Philly for Kobe Bryant as he visits the place he grew up and played high school ball. Adding drama to his homecoming, Kobe Bryant needs just 24 points to pass Shaquille O’Neal for 5th all-time on the NBA’s scoring list. He should be able to do it tonight against the Sixers.
Lakers fans — do the Lakers get the victory in Philly tonight? Does the Black Mamba surpass Shaq’s scoring record tonight, further bruising O’Neal’s ego?