The warm afterglow of Wednesday’s Lakers win over the Clippers, is still lingering. There’s no game tonight, with a back-to-back away trip tomorrow and Sunday, against Milwaukee and Minnesota respectively. The Lakers moved from 10th to 7th with one win, and are only 4.5 games out of first in the west. That’s how tight it is, and that’s how it’ll probably continue – a choppy checkerboard course of games, with teams flying back and forth across the country in byzantine fashion. Many thanks to the league for creating a compressed schedule ripe for havoc and injury. As follows, some writings from Peace to Pau:
Dave McMenamin, ESPN: World Peace wants people to know the definition of who he is doesn’t include any malicious intent. “On the court, I’m definitely not a mean person. I’m still the same person. I play extremely hard,” he told 710 ESPN. “You won’t be seeing that much. I can play basketball with just as much energy without talking smack and still being energized and having fun with the fans.” Gasol put it thusly: “He’s World Peace now. He can’t be too aggressive or too violent out there. He’s preaching peace.” Still, whatever player wore No. 15 for the Lakers last night– the docile Metta World Peace, the rambunctious Ron Artest, or some combination of the two — was sprung to life by the Clippers. And Clippers-Lakers games are sure to be just as lively for every player involved moving forward.
Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports: These Lakers needed a night where they were no longer fighting Mike Brown’s offense, fighting the rim for shots to fall into the basket. They found some trust, found contributions everywhere, and the Big Three of Bryant, Gasol and Bynum played like champions. All hell was breaking loose in the Staples Center, and finally there was someone called Metta World Peace flexing at midcourt, letting the love wash down over him, and it sure looked like the old Ron Artest. These Clippers are coming for the Lakers, but whatever innocence Pau Gasol claimed, it was no accident when he patted Chris Paul on the head, suggesting the Clips and their point guard run along for now. These are still Kobe Bryan’s Lakers, and they still have a championship DNA. All hell broke loose at Staples, and the Lakers had come out tougher, together. There’s still some guys you don’t mess with in the NBA and they still play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Mike Bresnahan, L.A. Times: When Andrew Goudelock’s name was called 46th overall on draft day last June, there was a series of shrugs. He was one of four Lakers second-round selections, an undersized shooter generously listed at 6 feet 3. When he arrived at the Lakers’ facility, he found out quickly that every number he wanted, was either being used of retired. So he picked No. 0. He had his reasons. “I was recruited by maybe two schools,” he said. “I don’t get many chances in this life, so for me, zero just represents everything I’ve been through. I’ve had to make my own chances every step and I’m just trying to do it here.” The Lakers will take it, especially with Steve Blake sidelined at least another week because of a rib injury. Goudelock scored only 10 points in 10 games, before Wednesday’s breakthrough.
Kevin Ding, the OC Register: In a candid interview Thursday with Canal+ Espana, forward Pau Gasol said that other players – not just Kobe Bryant — need to be involved in the offense for the Lakers to work. Bryant is the team’s leading scorer and shot-taker, attempting 463 shots in the first 19 games, nearly twice as many as Gasol (245) and more than double Andrew Bynum (182). Gasol said the fact that the Lakers star takes the majority of the shots is “reality” – “It’s not a plan or improv, it is what it is and will continue to happen,” Gasol said to the Spanish language website. “The system has to help us all so we can contribute so he doesn’t have to carry the load. So at the end, it’s not just only his decision or the decision of any other player on the court, but more about the plays we run and the system.” Gasol re-iterated that he prefers playing closer to the basket than sitting in the high post, as he did in Wednesday’s victory against the Clippers. Gasol scored 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting and 10 rebounds.
Connor Hutchton at Hardwood Paroxysm: Every week, Hardwood Paroxysm hosts a guest column from Tim Rethers, who is not a real person or a basketball fan. He gives us his unique perspective and insight, generally based on things he’s heard or accidentally learned. I “watched” one game this week, when I was changing the channel from Court TV. I only watched for a few minutes, but it seemed like Kobe Bryant was making more shots than the other team. My favorite part is when he makes those weird facial expressions and stares down the big guy with the beard. Heard some interesting things around the water cooler the day after the game. Bill from IT was going on and on about that big bearded guy, so I butted in and mentioned how many shots Kobe’s been making. “Sure, but I think he’s maybe been shooting too much.” I snorted and walked away. Bill doesn’t know the first thing about basketball, I bet. He also won’t fix my computer. Think he might have something against me. Whatever. Sometimes people forget to invite a co-worker to Golden Corral. It happens. Bill needs to learn to live with it.
That be it, sports fans. The torches have been put on hold and threads seem to be in a fairly benevolent mood. I myself, am feeling somewhat recalcitrant, for matters not related to peace or roundball. Pick a topic or pick something else and discuss amongst yourselves.