Let's put things in perspective. If we told you in October that before the beginning of April the Lakers would get their 50th win of the season, making them the third seed in the W.C., only a game out of the top spot, would you have complained that said 50th win didn't come in dominating fashion? Doubt it. So in that context, Sunday night's 126-120 overtime win at Staples over a hot Wizards team seems a lot better, right? Coming off two straight brutal losses on their home floor, the Lakers were dying for a victory, and behind a balanced effort including production up and down the lineup, that's what they got. The box score shows a strange night all around. Kobe was outshot by his teammates, and both teams were better from downtown than they were inside the arc, a big time statistical oddity. And against a team with more established stars, the Lakers were burned by local lad Nick Young (27 points, a career high) and DeShawn Stevenson (eight threes).
In terms of triples, the first half belonged to the Lakers, and the second to Washington, especially the twisting, leaning Caron Butler hoist that helped push the game into overtime. But just like the Wizards received a boost from more unlikely sources, the Lakers were goosed by 20 from Sasha Vujacic (a welcome bounce back), 19 from Luke Walton, 18 from Vlad Rad, and some nice contributions from DJ Mbenga (including the block at left) on a night where Phil Jackson said Kobe came out distributing after dominating the ball more against the Grizzlies on Friday.
D-Fish got the start on Sunday, but how his injured foot will cooperate going forward is still something of a guessing game. Pau Gasol worked out on Sunday, and is hoping he can make it back on the court for Wednesday's game against the Blazers... knock on wood. Andrew Bynum continues to work out, and will accompany the team on its next roadie. But for the Lakers to maintain the balance they've shown throughout the season, LA needs the bigs back in the lineup.
The Warriors beat Dallas at home Sunday night, making the W.C. a very tight place not just up top, but at the bottom as well. Golden State, Denver, and the Mavs are all tied up, with two playoff slots available. Someone's gonna be left in the cold...
Brandon Roy isn't likely to play against the Lakers on Wednesday.
One blogger's struggle to decide how to handle Mark Cuban's newly revised policy on bloggers.