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Midweek Lakers Game Links

The Lakers are in town tonight and they won't exactly be at the top of their game. Not only did they play in Houston last night, but Lamar Odom sprained his knee during that game. He definitely won't play tonight because he flew back to LA - in fact he might not even be ready to play against the Mavs when they meet again on January 7th.

Of course, they still have Kobe. It was just 51 weeks ago he went for 62 against Dallas in three quarters. But David Moore thinks he's changed since then.

A sign of the Lakers growth as a team is that it no longer needs Bryant's 40-point explosions to be successful.

A sign of Bryant's maturity is that he no longer feels compelled to impose his offensive will to that extent on a nightly basis.
Kobe was averaging just 26 ppg so far this season , but it seems reasonable to say that number will increase with Odom out who was averaging a career high 17.5

I was curious to see how many points Kobe averaged against the Nuggets last season when he was presumably defended by Greg Buckner. The answer - he averaged 37 points. Which doesn't seem as ridiculous when you remember that only two points higher than his season average and six less than he averaged vs Dallas.

Art Garcia has an article on Kobe as well and breaks down the way he thinks the Mavs should defend him.
UTILIZE DEPTH
The best way to wear Kobe down is to keep sending fresh defenders at him. Josh Howard, Devean George, Anthony Johnson and Greg Buckner should each get their shot guarding Kobe.

VARY THE DOUBLE TEAMS
Kobe gets double-teamed every night. The key to being successful is bringing the doubles from different places to get Kobe thinking about the defense and not about the Lakers' offense.
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According to Garcia, Jerry Stackhouse is doubtful for tonight's game and Croshere will be a game-time decision.

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At the top of that article are some quotes from Devean George about adjusting to life away from the Lakers.
"Now I'm thinking, trying to get the covers right; am I in the right spot? But it will come."

Though he's become a valuable part of the rotation as power forward Dirk Nowitzki's primary backup, the adjustment has proved tougher than expected. George (6-foot-8, 235 pounds) has played small forward throughout his career.

"I've had to adjust my whole game playing the 4," said George, averaging 16.5 minutes and 4.5 points. "The offense is different. On defense I'm used to guarding the ball; now I'm guarding the picker."
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Eddie sefko has bizarrely timed article on Josh Howard's chances of making the all-star team.

They're not good.