Darius Morris vs Ty Lawson: Ty Lawson is a quick guard and clearly has an edge on his Lakers counterpart. Lawson is averaging 7.6 assists a game this season. Seeing an inexperienced point guard in front of him, Lawson has a good chance of hitting double-digit assists on Friday night. If the Lakers don’t help Morris, Lawson is also averaging over 13.5 points a game to Morris’ 6.4 points per game. Edge goes to Denver.
Kobe Bryant vs Andre Iguodala: Obviously, Kobe Bryant has an edge in this matchup. However, Iguodala will hope to keep Bryant honest on the defensive end of the floor. The ninth-year shooting guard out of Arizona has only failed to hit double figures in points in three games this season, but he’s coming off a 40-minute performance against Golden State on Thursday night. Kobe with a serious edge.
Metta World Peace vs Danilo Gallinari: Metta World Peace looks like a brand new player after changing his diet and exercise routine in the offseason. World Peace is averaging nearly 14 points a game and shooting a high percentage from the field and the three point line. Gallinari had one of his best games of the season in the loss to Golden State on Thursday night, but the Italian is averaging career-lows in field goal percentage and three-point percentage. D’Antoni coached Gallinari in New York, so there is an added storyline within this matchup. The matchup slightly leans to World Peace at the moment, but it is more likely categorized as a push.
Pau Gasol vs Kenneth Faried: Faried is a second-year undersized power forward out of Morehead State. Faried has shown improvement in nearly every category over his rookie season, and the 23-year-old is currently averaging a double double at 13 points and 11 rebounds per game. Gasol has been a shell of the man that won two NBA titles with the Lakers. He is averaging 13 points and 9 rebounds per game this season. When considering his history, Gasol should get an automatic win in this matchup, especially considering Faried is at least four inches shorter than Gasol. In the present, this matchup is a push and leaning in Faried’s favor...c'mon Pau!
Dwight Howard vs Kosta Koufos: Koufos is a 7-footer and has a slight advantage over Howard in terms of height. Apart from an inch or two, Howard wins in nearly every other statistical category. Koufos has Howard on free throw percentage, but Howard averages nearly 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks more per game than Koufus. The Lakers should look to take advantage of Howard’s superior athleticism and speed.
Overall: Lakers take the starting lineup edge 2-1 on the backs of Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.