Nov 29, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons point guard Peyton Siva (34) guards Los Angeles Lakers point guard Jordan Farmar (1) during the first quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers vs. 76ers Game Preview

The 76ers played a fast-paced game in Phoenix last night and enter Los Angeles with a back-to-back game off the road.  They lost last night 115 to 101.  There are a few players to watch on the 76er team.

Evan Turner is a critical piece, and is expected to play back after missing a game against the Suns to right knee soreness.  It’s not a critical injury, but may give the 76er team a boost on offense.  He averages 19.3 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game, and 4 assists per game.  While he’s not the most explosive athlete out there, a lot can be said for his basketball and hoop IQ.  He’s a systematic player who is able to take advantages of gaps in the defense and his diversified triple threat skill level keeps floor spacing balanced.  He enables everyone on the team to be a scoring threat.  The 76er team has one advantage over the rest of the league, and it’s having five starting players with 3pt. range.  Turner is adept at driving and kicking.  Three-point shooting is an opportunity for him, but when the floor is spaced well, he will attack and create plays for his teammates, including his own point guard, Michael Carter-Williams.

Dec 20, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) is marked by Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams (8) during the first quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Carter-Williams is the primary point guard and can give the Lakers a huge headache defensively.  The Lakers already struggle defending point guards, even with Jodie Meeks doing an excellent job to cover.  What makes MCW such a big threat is the 6’5″ height to go with point guard quickness and passing ability.  MCW averages 18.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game.  While Turner is more of a systematic halfcourt player, Carter-Williams likes to push up the tempo and keep the team running.  He does so by being an excellent shade-defender, meaning, closing out on dribble-penetration in the paint or shutting down passing lanes as a team defender. Defensively, he is a steal monster and can easily take advantage of the turnover prone Laker team.  Jordan Farmar will do an adequate job of protecting the basketball, but Xavier Henry has his hands full.

Thaddeus Young is a wiry power forward that could be easily mistaken for another shooting guard on the team.  He has speed, quickness, and some strength in the paint to come up with explosive finishes and fly out in transition along with Carter-Williams. While he’s selective about his shooting, his 3-point percentage is at 45.6%, and takes a couple of attempts a night.

The 76er team can prove to be a handful against the Lakers.  They like to pressure the opponents defensively by flooding passing lanes, averaging 8.6 steals per night.  That is a lot, and can easily turn a small lead into a blow out win.

They have 8 total wins and this is what the Lakers can take advantage of.

They average 18 total turnovers per game, with Michael Carter-Williams nearly averaging 4 a game.  The team shoots 44.4% from the field and while all five starters have 3-point range, they only shoot 33% from the field.

Be opportunistic about transition play.  Take care of the basketball.  Pressure Carter-Williams.  Rotate out to Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young behind the arc.  Do not let anyone get hot from the field.  Force them to play defense with great clock management and their offensive spirit will be discouraged.

Let’s see if the Lakers execute that tonight.  Go Lakers!

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