Czar’s Season Preview

Czar's Preview-Gasol-21OCT2013

Fratello Telestrator

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Fratello Telestrator: Pau and the Power of One

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Gameday Dish: Lakers at Nuggets

Both the Nuggets and Lakers are looking to improve upon their latest performances. On Tuesday night, Denver lost 144 to 113 at Indiana, making them an even 4-4 for the season. The run-and-gunners got a taste of their own medicine when the Pacers fired 54 points in the third quarter – the most points scored by a team in one NBA quarter in 20 years. To put that in perspective, number one overall pick John Wall was barely two months old the last time a squad put up that many points in 12 NBA basketball minutes.

The Lakers along with the New Orleans Hornets are the only teams left in the NBA with unblemished records. At 8-0, the 2010 NBA Champs have come out of the blocks looking close-to-dominant. With eight wins against no losses, this version of the Lake Show is tied for second-best start ever for a Lakers team. And this is all being done without siixth-year center Andrew Bynum, who has not played so far this season due to a summer surgery on his right knee. Only the 1997-98 Purple & Gold, at 11-0, stand ahead of this year’s team when it comes to start of the season sizzle.

With Los Angeles’ on-target, long-range 3-bombing leading the league at 43.5%, the Nuggets team defense better pay special attention to their perimeter play, especially after allowing the Pacers to hit 16 threes in their last game. Denver bested the Lakers in 3 of 4 meetings last season and took them to six games in the 2009 Western Conference Finals, proving they are capable of derailing the champs. Denver will be looking for redemption tonight and hoping to capitalize on the vulnerability the Lakers displayed in their latest matchup.

In Tuesday’s victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, LA played what can be fairly described as their weakest contest of this early season. The Wolves out-rebounded them 54-42 in their 99-94 loss. To continue their winning ways Los Angeles will have to improve on the boards against a tough, physical Denver front line led by superstar forward Carmelo Anthony.

Speaking of #15 on the Nuggets roster, Anthony’s extension-refusal, almost-traded, maybe-gone, still-here, stay-or-go mini drama still hangs over everything the Denver franchise does.  The subtitle to this season in the Rocky Mountain State could be called ‘Melo Movements?’ with emphasis on the question mark.

Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and I will team up tonight to bring you live coverage from the Pepsi Center on NBA on TNT at 10:30 PM EST following the Boston Celtics at Miami Heat.

Czar Asks You

Barcelona born brothers Pau and Marc Gasol faced off in Los Angeles tonight. Western Conference Player of the Week Pau outscored and outrebounded Marc in the Lakers’ decisive 124-105 win over Memphis.

Younger brother Marc moved to Tennessee with his parents when Pau signed with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001. And again he followed Pau’s lead when he joined the Grizzlies after the Lakers traded the rights to Marc in a multi-player deal to acquire Pau in February 2008.

Now entering his third year in the NBA, Marc Gasol is an up-and-coming star who, in Phil Jackson’s words, is a “tougher, more powerful player than (Pau).” But 2× NBA Champion and 3× NBA All-Star Pau Gasol has set the bar high.

Will Marc Gasol continue to follow in Pau’s footsteps and lead his team to an NBA Championship some day?