A win anything but Wizardly: Lakers 106, Washington 104
Taking that sentiment to its most literal heart, one would take a gander at the Lakers' Friday night 106-104 win over the Washington Wizards and think, "Mission Accomplished." But should the victory be analyzed in any fashion involving an evaluation of sorts, the only flying colors earned by this team would be their perfunctory purple and gold.
More specifically, it felt like Pacers deja vu all over again, this contest involving a lackluster first half, followed by a third quarter run, then a fourth quarter where everything slips away. 20 box score points in all were frittered away by a second unit discovering a more difficult life outside of Staples Center, a trend that could land Kobe and company more late game run on a regular basis.
Phil Jackson took the blame for both his faith in the bench mob and the jeopardized outcome, but didn't absolve his players entirely. After all, they're the ones comfortable letting the foot off the gas and abandoning the principles of Team D, preferring instead to engage in a team-wide steals contest. Kobe is in a prime position to lap Trevor Ariza, but Phil would prefer he stick with the script and keep the fortress fully guarded.
One bright side of the game could be the play of Andrew Bynum, who tallied a season-high 19 points to go along with ten rebounds and a trio of swats. Now if he could just hit the court without flapping his gums, we'd really be onto something. As you can see (since he wrote about it in two outlets), veteran scribe Ted Green is concerned Drew's grumblings are a signal of discontentment permeating throughout a roster.
- Who has a better chance at 70, Lakers or Celts? According to John Hollinger, it's answer C. Jim Cleamons is betting on "none of the above."
- Kevin Garnett has moved on from tormenting Jose Calderon to his own teammates.
- SI takes a look Paul Pierce's 2008 and career.
- Former Laker Brian Cook could be on the move again.
- Corey Maggette may be the bigger name, but the Spurs are happy to have landed Roger Mason Jr. instead.
- The Suns are still struggling with their new offense and Shaq's presence.
- Ronny Turiaf's first start for Golden State was a foul-ridden but effective defensive effort against Yao Ming.