Lakers 111, T-Wolves 108: Result KO's process
Only in the result of Sunday evening's 111-108 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves out on the great frozen north are the realities of the Western Conference standings reflected. The Lakers, who have more victories than any team in the Association, did it again. The Wolves, who don't, didn't. (Or did, depending on your POV...) All the stuff in the middle, though? It was hard to tell which squad was the dominant one. The Lakers got major production from their big three- Kobe Bryant: 28/6/7, Pau Gasol: 25/5/5, Lamar Odom: 25/14/3... if you can identify LA's last trio of one-game 25 point scorers without clicking this link, it's officially time to leave the house more often- but were a leaky vessel defensively. The Timberwolves, hardly a model of offensive efficiency (especially in the absence of Al Jefferson) shot 50% from the floor, aided by too many mental errors from LA.
Pathetic was the word used by Phil Jackson to paint a picture of his team's defensive effort.
There were some positives. The play of Odom, for example, who displayed versatility difficult for Kevin McHale's crew to counter. It was his sixth double-double in seven games, and whether through a better understanding of the game or more ability to use all the tools in the box, LO's performance reflects a maturing floor game.
And, of course, there was Kobe Bryant, who passed Laker great Elgin Baylor on the career NBA points list, moving into 20th place with 23,164. 24 doesn't always pay attention to every statistical milestone, but for this one he seemed to have more awareness, especially considering Baylor's place in Lakers history.
In other news...
- The Celtics are making a strong play for soon-to-be FA big Mikki Moore, who is expected to make a decision on where he'll play as soon as he clears waivers after being released by Sacramento. Denver is also a player in the derby. (Question: Can the words Mikki Moore and "Sweepstakes" be used together? "Handy to have around" probably needs its own term.)
- The Cavs are keeping an eye on Joe Smith should/when he become available. As a reminder, players have to be on the roster by March 1 to be eligible for the playoffs. This means Starbury is on the clock.
- With Carlos Boozer set to return, the Jazz are inches away from being whole for the first time this season. Expect them to play like an elite squad over the second half of the season.
- The Hornets are looking forward to getting Tyson Chandler back on the floor.
- Steve Blake had 14 assists in the first quarter as the Blazers rolled the Clippers (or at very least, a bunch of dudes wearing red, white and blue).
- David Falk speaks out on the economic future of the NBA. For the rest of us, it's good to know not every NBA star leaves his shoe at a high price point.