From Kevin Ding, OC Register: One of the NBA’s novelties jetted across the Lakers’ path Tuesday night in the form of Washington Wizards rookie point guard John Wall. Another — the Clippers’ Blake Griffin — comes through Wednesday night. But the Lakers’ Pau Gasol has become one of the league’s mainstays. He pushed through some early shooting woes Tuesday, and the Lakers held on for a 115-108 victory over the Wizards. Gasol put together another of his unique lines: 21 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and five blocks. He was able to shake off the tightness in his left hamstring that limited him and greatly contributed to the Lakers going 0-2 in their recent trip through Memphis and Houston.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Their 22 first-half assists reflected the ball movement that makes this team so fun to watch. It results in Kobe Bryant (32 points on 12 of 23 shooting) endlessly cutting to the lane and showcasing the athleticism that appeared more often in past years (“It’s being more aggressive, just getting in the paint and making the defense do something.”). It results in Pau Gasol nearly logging his second triple double of the season (21 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists), as the Lakers’ early entry passes forced Washington to spread the floor, enabled Gasol’s teammates to operate with more space and sparked easy scoring opportunities. And it results in Lamar Odom (24 points on eight of 12 shooting) filling in holes Washington’s zone defense presented. That all changed in the second half, as the Lakers managed only four assists thanks to what Jackson faulted for “guys were looking for their own game.” Some examples: Odom’s over-the-shoulder pass that resulted in a turnover, forced drives to the lane from Gasol and Derek Fisher that resulted in Wall blocks. And the Lakers committing two turnovers in the final four minutes.
From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: “They really sucked the joy out of winning that one, didn’t they?” That was Phil Jackson’s message to the Lakers after their 115-108 victory Tuesday night at Staples over a Washington Wizards team lacking generally in hap (six wins in 20 tries), but totally hapless on the road, where they dropped to 0-11 on the season. “We made it tougher,” Pau Gasol said. “We made it tougher on ourselves.” Tuesday’s game was a great example of how fast NBA games can change. The Lakers won the first quarter by 13, tied the second, and were plus-six over halfway through the third, plus four at the 3:27 mark. Over the next three and a half minutes, Washington was 14 points better than L.A. Then in a fourth quarter suddenly more competitive than it needed to be, the Lakers outscored Washington by four.
From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: From the moment he dropped a 17 footer at the 11:21 mark of the first quarter, it was clear he had “that look.” The one allowing him to move aggressively, get inside position, put the ball on the floor, and generally get any look he’d like. He hit four of his seven shots in the first 12 minutes, then five of seven in the second. Along the way, Bryant broke out some of the footwork making his mid-post game so much fun to watch, with a variety of spins and step throughs you figure have to be travels until watching the replay. What helped make it all so effective, though, was how he got his shots. 14 might seem like too much for one half, but the vast majority came off quality movement for the Lakers.
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: With Trail Blazers point guard Andre Miller suspended for a flagrant foul on Blake Griffin, Derek Fisher’s participation in Tuesday’s game against the Washington Wizards didn’t just help spark a win. It meant playing a 434th consecutive game, which makes him the leader among active NBA players. (The granddaddy of all iron men, A.C. Green, holds the all-time record with 1,192 straight contests.) I asked Fisher after the game what the streak meant to him and as is often the case, his comments reflected a mindset aware of a picture bigger than his own: “There’s a lot of people in this country and around the world that make that decision every day. I take a lot of pride in it from that perspective. Not really about me personally or athletically what it means but, I watched my parents and my dad and my mom wake up every morning and go to work when they had to.
From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: If you’ve ever wondered why the Hollinger power rankings never seem to be all that in love with the Lakers, this is the reason. About eight or nine times a year, the Lakers face a terrible opponent and instead of kneecapping the fools like they owe money, the champs are content to slide by with a single-digit W. We’re used to it by now. It doesn’t mean anything other than that when you’ve been to three straight Finals and won two straight titles, getting jazzed for a mid-December run with the Wizards isn’t the easiest thing in the world. No one should be surprised if it happens again tomorrow against the cosigners of the Staples Center lease.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: he Lakers faced the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night … and will face them again in exactly one week. The scheduling quirk prompted Coach Phil Jackson before the game to mention when asked about coaches sometimes holding back strategy to save for the next meeting: “I won’t play Andrew Bynum tonight.” So will Bynum play next time vs. the Wizards? “Maybe,” Jackson said. The Lakers are confident Bynum will make his season debut around then. He is asking for two more practices before his first game of the season, and he is scheduled to get them Saturday in New York and Monday in Washington — assuming Jackson doesn’t squeeze in an extra workout before the team’s noon flight to Chicago on Thursday.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Lakers assistant coach Frank Hamblen has gotten pretty comfortable in Pau Gasol’s chair in the team’s Staples Center locker room this season. That’s because Hamblen serves as the hall monitor on game nights, keeping watch for violators of the Lakers’ rule that players must arrive an hour and a half before game time. And Gasol has started to be a regular offender, to the point that Hamblen was kicking back again Tuesday night in the chair in front of Gasol’s locker before the Wizards-Lakers game. When Gasol finally did arrive well after the deadline, Hamblen mockingly cleared a path to Gasol’s locker for him, pretending Gasol was Spanish royalty.
Quick Update: After posting the links, I saw Darius and Matt Moore discussing a post on Basketball-Reference.com by Neil Paine via Twitter. The article took a look at the percentage of a team’s points produced which presented us with some very interesting numbers on Kobe. You can check that out here.