Lakers 112, Sacramento 103: You take the good, you take the bad...
Take them both and you end up with Kim Fields on roller skates.
Click below for the breakdown.
- Kobe Bryant: Remember the other day when we wondered if Kobe's health could be an issue? Well, it still could be, but clearly not much was bothering him tonight. He opened the scoring with a nothing-but-net jumper 13 seconds into the game, and went on from there. In short, Kobe looked a lot more like Kobe, moving aggressively on defense, shooting the ball with more arc, and (perhaps most importantly) attacking the basket. His 32 points came on 21 shots and 10 trips to the line. Toss in seven boards, three dimes, and a block, and it was a pretty complete night.
- Pau Gasol: You can make a very solid argument that Gasol has been LA's most consistent performer over the first 22 games of the season, and tonight he was, once again, very strong. 18 points, on (for him, a surprisingly inefficient) 7-16 from the floor, plus 11 boards and four dimes. He was effective around the rim, but importantly continued to do very good work with his jumper from midrange. It's getting to the point that when one of those J's from the elbow doesn't fall, it's surprising. Defensively, the tandem of Brad Miller and Spencer Hawes combined for only 19 points on 6-16 shooting, indicative of the work Gasol, Bynum, and Lamar Odom did on the tandem. Overall, the Lakers were more attentive in dealing with the skill set of Sacto's bigs, cutting down on their outside game and limiting Miller's ability to distribute from the high post.
- Trevor Ariza: In just over 20 minutes of run, Ariza hit five of his seven shots, grabbed five boards, notched a couple dimes, and made some noise defensively. The points came from inside and out, reminiscent of the performances he had earlier in the season. It's good to see Ariza getting some confidence back with his shot, because if he can pull opposing players away from the hoop, his opportunities to attack the lane- his real strength- go up even more.
- Andrew Bynum: It wasn't all bad, as Bynum finished with 10 boards and had some decent moments in the second half, but all told it was a frustrating night for LA's young C. He opened the game aggressively looking for his shot, but too often forced the issue and must have thought the rim was replaced with one of those undersized, gnarly ones you see at carnivals and state fairs. Nothing would go down... including his foul count. He picked up a pair of fouls only 36 seconds apart in the second quarter, giving him three on the night. PJ elected to keep him in the ballgame... until Bynum picked up his fourth less than a minute later. Eventually, Drew would foul out, but at least it was with authority as he practically hog tied Spencer Hawes under the basket in the fourth.
- Free throws: A nine point win with a few tense moments could have been a laugher had the Lakers taken advantage of their 35 trips to the line. Instead, they missed 14 freebies, including nine in the first half. Ariza (2-6) and Josh Powell (1-5) were the worst offenders.
- The siren that goes off when the Jumbotron is lowered after the game: To say that bit of ear pollution interrupted our attempts to film the modest little video at the top of the post would be an understatement. Now, I'm all for safety, but this massive scoreboard falls about a foot every three seconds, and is coming from the top of the freakin' arena. If you happen to get caught underneath, it's probably because you're not paying attention. At least it gave us a chance to give DJ Mbenga, or at least a picture of his arm, some time on camera. He hasn't had much of that this season.
One Big Issue:
- Executioner required: "I told them in the post game that we found ways to keep (the Kings) in the game, in the end of the first half, in the end of the third quarter, and at the end of the game. We did it through a variety of things. We missed foul shots, giving up fouls at the end of the quarters. Let's not take anything away from Sacramento, but we really kept them in the game," Jackson said. On the one hand, it's a nice change of pace for the Lakers to have an opportunity to go all guillotine on an opponent. On the other, the trend of failing to score the knockout blow (to go from medieval forms of death making to boxing) continues. Those 30+ point fourth quarters for the opposition just don't sit well, nor do silly mental errors and bad fouls (the most egregious being Jordan Farmar riding Bobby Jackson out of bounds at halfcourt just before the buzzer ended the third, trading a desperation heave for two free throws).