Five things to take from Lakers' 106-73 win over Charlotte
1. The Lakers' 106-73 victory Tuesday over the Charlotte Bobcats featured the Big Three receiving plenty of rest. Let's face it, the Bobcats aren't good. They're the worst team in the NBA -- even worse without injured starters D.J. Augustin (sore toe) and Corey Maggette (strained hamstring). So nothing big-picture can really come out of this except for the Big Three's minutes.
Consider the discrepancy between their minutes Tuesday and their season averages -- Kobe Bryant (27, 38.6), Pau Gasol (28, 37.7) and Andrew Bynum (32, 34.4). There's only so much development the Lakers can get against a sub-.500 team. So no one should sweat for now about Charlotte's dominating the offensive glass 12-7, or the Lakers' weak defensive rotations, or a lead that shrank from 26 points to 13 in the third quarter. The Lakers remain a work in progress and one game against a bad team wasn't going to fix that.
So it's good that Coach Mike Brown allowed Bryant and Bynum to ice their knees for most of the fourth quarter. But why put Gasol back in the game for Bynum with the Lakers leading 86-64 and 7:05 left? Leave that duty to Josh McRoberts, who didn't enter the game until the final 4:36. Giving Gasol extra minutes against a bad team provides zero benefit.
2. Bryant started impressively, ended with a dud. It looked like Bryant was on pace for a big scoring night. His 18 first-quarter points on seven-for-12 shooitng came on elbow jumpers, runners and post-ups, meaning the Lakers set him up well in his sweet spots. But he remained insistent on shooting from three-point range, despite going two for 11 and missing nine in a row. His start created some buzz in an otherwise boring game, but it hardly carried through the rest of the night as he finished with 24 points and a scoreless second half.
3. Metta World Peace shouldn't be starting at small forward.World Peace started for the second consecutive game, even though he went zero for four from the field Sunday against Minnesota. Tuesday night, he scored two points on one-for-two shooting. He committed two first-quarter fouls, made a horrible-looking pass to Troy Murphy and botched a fastbreak pass to Gasol.
Meanwhile, Matt Barnes scored 10 points on four-for-five shooting, including five third-quarter points that helped cut off Charlotte's rally. Barnes may have committed two early fouls and made a poor pass to Jason Kapono that went out of bounds. But his presence this season has mostly trumped World Peace's, the lone exception being last week's win against the Clippers.
Despite Barnes' poor three-point shooting and overly aggressive fouls, he never severely hurt the team when he started at small forward. As demonstrated by his five double-digit efforts, he's also more capable at providing an occasional spark. It remains mind-boggling that Brown's keeping this lineup intact.
4. Andrew Goudelock remains a promising option until Steve Blake returns. Brown remains unsure whether Goudelock can maintain his double-figure average since becoming the Lakers' backup point guard the last four games. But so far so good. The fact a second-round rookie has climbed so fast up the depth chart says more about the Lakers' serious issues at point guard. Still, Goudelock's 12-point performance on four-for-nine shooting showed he's increasing his confidence in finding his own shot and orchestrating the offense.
5. Why didn't McRoberts play more? The exact reasons aren't immediately clear. But here's one partial explanation: Murphy's outside shooting complemented Bynum's inside presence better and helped spread the floor. That strategy paid off with Murphy scoring 12 points and going four for four from three-point range. But keeping McRoberts on the bench until the final five minutes didn't make sense.
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Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, shoots over Charlotte forward Boris Diaw during the second quarter of Tuesday's game. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / January 31, 2012
Photo: Lakers forward Metta World Peace shows his frustration after being called for a foul during the first half of Tuesday's game against the Charlotte Bobcats. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / January 31, 2012