Again, for the fourth straight win, the Lakers get it done without Kobe Bryant. Last night’s game saw the return of Andrew Bynum, who played very well alongside both Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. All five of the Lakers starters finished in double digits, and were led, surprisingly, by Shannon Brown’s career highs in points (27) and rebounds (10).
The Lakers got off to a great start in the first quarter. They were hitting their shots, grabbing offensive rebounds, getting stops and running the offense inside-out against an under sized Warriors team. Both Bynum and Brown finished the quarter in double digits as the Lakers took a 36-24 lead into the second quarter.
Then, as Darius suggested in his preview, the Lakers got a little sloppy, which would eventually lead to 19 turnovers and 26 points off of turnovers for the Warriors. The Lakers won 104-94, but the sloppy play kept this one a lot closer than it should have been.
On the Land O’ Lakers Blog, Brian Kamenetzky wrote about the Lakers sloppy play in the second quarter:
“Kudos to the home team for exceeding the pace set only a quarter earlier, when L.A. gave up the rock three times in barely two minutes between 9:49 and 7:48, part of a six turnover frame leading to 11 points for the Warriors and whittling a 12-point advantage after one down to three at the break. Without a seven-point burst over the final 1:32, it would have been worse, as the Lakers were stuck on 11 points for most of the quarter.
“I think we can all agree it wasn’t the vaunted Warriors defense keeping them down.
“By the end of the third, the Lakers had given the ball up 14 times, exceeding their 13.1 average with 12 minutes still to play. They’d finish with 19, as sloppy and inattentive on this night as they were razor sharp in the three leading to the break. The shot selection was often awful, as the Lakers failed to consistently take advantage of a Warriors team with almost no meaningful size down low. Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Ron Artest combined to shoot 13 of 39.”
Even though it was only the Warriors, no one should be worried about the sloppy play going into Thursday’s game against the Celtics as the Lakers have been known to lower their level of play to the competition, with or without Kobe – and the Celtics have the third highest turnover rate in the league.
Lamar Odom finished with 18 rebounds off of the bench, bringing his season average to 10.0 rpg, ranking him 12th in rebounding average in the NBA. You have to love the way LO has been playing in the four games of Kobe’s absence. He’s had rebound totals of 22, 10, 11 and 18 in the four games, and just a mere five in their last loss against Denver.
Warriors’ rookie, Stephon Curry, had one of the worst nights of his young career. He finished with an 11-10-8 line, but shot only five for 21 and one for 10 from behind the arch. This, following his triple-double against the Clippers in their final game before the All-Star break. Marcus Thompson II of the Oakland Tribune talks about his off night:
Curry had the lion’s share of the spotlight Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Under the bright lights of the famed Staples Center, the Warriors’ rookie guard put together one of the most memorable performances of his young career.
Unfortunately for Golden State, it wasn’t the good kind of memorable, as the Warriors lost 104-94. In a game where the Warriors needed his offense, Curry couldn’t flip a quarter off the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay.
Curry took 21 shots and missed 16. He made just 1 of 10 3-pointers, bricking five of his nine misses in the fourth quarter, spoiling the Warriors’ chance at an upset bid.
“A couple of those go down and it’s a different ballgame,” said Curry, who had 36 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds his last game. “I don’t plan on shooting that badly. Ever again.”
Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register had a nice piece on Andrew Bynum and how injuries have, and will continue to limit his growth as a basketball player, citing his reluctance to play with injuries:
“It’s becoming ever clearer that the thing that could truly stunt Bynum’s growth en route to basketball greatness is an inability to overcome what is wrong with his body. That’s why Shannon Brown’s bounce-back from his dunk-contest failures was the stir of the moment, but what happened Tuesday night that ultimately means much more for the Lakers was Bynum playing hurt.
Bynum’s reluctance to play was clear in his hesitant voice coming off the practice court Monday. Asked about the state of his bruised right hip, Bynum quickly went for the negative “didn’t feel that great” answer long before he shared that there was actually “a lot less” pain than heading into the weekend.”
As far as Kobe goes, it appears that we won’t know if Kobe will be playing in Thursday’s game against the Celtics until Kobe knows himself. Phil Jackson said that the decision was, “purely up to him” on whether or not he’d play on Thursday night. If no decision is made by Darius’ afternoon post, we’ll definitely have an update by tomorrow morning.
Last, but not least, it has been reported that Denver Nuggets’ coach George Karl has a neck and throat cancer that is “treatable and curable.” Karl survived prostate cancer back in 2005; our thoughts go out to Karl and his family in hopes that he makes another full recovery.