Lakers Vs. Knicks Word of The Day: Tempo

Michael Del MuroCorrespondent IDecember 16, 2008

Tonight when the Lakers face off against the New York Knicks and old enemy Mike D'Antoni, they'll be tempted to push the ball up the court and play at the Knicks' pace.

Bad idea.

The Lakers need to control the tempo. That means when they get a rebound, unless the fast break is there, they need to slow it down. Each possession should mean taking 15-20 seconds off the shot clock on each possession and working the ball down to the Lakers horses—Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.

Gasol has been on fire lately, averaging 20.2 and 9.6 his last five games. And who do the Knicks have to contain him? Derek Lee? Tim Thomas?

If the Lakers run, they may win, but they'll be lucky. Teams need to play to their strengths, and the Lakers strengths are their bigs. Let's see if the Lakers do this time. It's good preparation for games against running teams like New Orleans.

So the key for tonight is simple: Control the tempo.