Extra! Extra! (12.14)
Okay, so here's the deal. Dallas is one of the league's elite teams. The Lakers were on their floor. In the second night of a back to back, no less. It's a game that easily could have been lost, even if Lamar Odom wasn't lost for the next four weeks (and only four, hopefully). But Wednesday night's 110-101 defeat at the hands of the Mavericks did show what the Lakers will miss without L.O. in the lineup. First, the Lakers had nobody to cover Dirk- or anyone apparently, as the Mavs shot an obscenely robust 60 percent from the floor. They missed his assists, managing only 14 for the game, and his presence on the boards, where Dallas hammered them 39-31. (Granted, they also shot 60 percent, so there wasn't much glass to clean.) All of that makes the numbers contained herein seem downright scary.
But there is a bright side. Remember, it was a back to back, they were on the road. And while minutes for Kobe, himself not the picture of health, went up, he scored 33 points on an efficient 9-18 from the floor. He facilitated with seven assists, and the Lakers nearly facilitated a lot of anger and resentment among the Dallas faithful, keeping the game tight into the fourth quarter. On the same page as P.J., Kobe seems more likely to take advantage of the Lakers' increased depth. They'll need it, because they have a long road of roadies ahead. And while, given his versatility, it's hard for one person to replace Odom, the box score shows a little more production from guys like Kwame (boards) and Vlad Rad (foul trouble)- wouldn't hurt either.