Lakers/Wolves: I Don’t Even Know This Team Anymore

Rey Moralde —  March 9, 2012

Box Score: Lakers 105, Wolves 102
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 115.4, Wolves 112.1
True Shooting %: Lakers 59.7%, Wolves 58.8%

After winning eight of ten, the Lakers looked like the Lakers we’ve known all season after they lost winnable games on the road against Detroit and Washington. And it looked like they were going to be 0-3 on this mini-road trip as they faced Minnesota next. The good news was (at least, for the Lakers) that Kevin Love was a late scratch due to back spasms. Let’s recap!

THE GOOD
Andrew Bynum had a monster game.

26 points and 10 boards for the young All-Star center. Particularly in the second quarter, Bynum dominated the paint. I was afraid he wasn’t going to get any touches in the fourth quarter the way the Lakers had been playing as of late but he had big scores down the stretch (including a late alley-oop slam where he did his “NBA Elite 11 Jesus” [NSFW language, by the way] pose thereafter… Darius and I hilariously pointed that out at the same time). It was nice to see the Lakers trust Bynum in the fourth (he put in 10 points in that quarter).

Kobe Bryant overcame a slow start to pour in 34 points (on 11/26 shooting). He was more in control in the second half, even though he was forced to bail the Lakers out with the shotclock running down. We even got a nice left-handed jam out of Kobe that was shades of the Kobe Bryant in the NBA Courtside video game for Nintendo 64. At least, this Kobe was more in rhythm of the offense than previous games.

Pau Gasol didn’t have a great game statistically but he did put in 12 points and 11 boards. He also had that one big stop against Minnesota when he blocked Derrick Williams’ shot with the Lakers up 1 and 6 seconds remaining in the game. So good for Pau for shaking off those trade rumors that went rampant on Twitter earlier and helping the Lakers win.

Derek Fisher must be given props for making three three-pointers in the third quarter.

And even though the bench only scored 13 points, Matt Barnes must be commended for his hustle all game (8 points and 5 boards) and Josh McRoberts getting dirty inside (7 rebounds) in limited play. Those boys helped out in getting 17 offensive rebounds for the Lakers (compared to 10 for the T-Wolves). Steve Blake also led the team with five assists.

The overall boardwork should be praised as well. 45-34 in favor of L.A. Good job.

THE BAD
The defense got better in the second half, yes… but wow, did the Wolves get into the paint with little to no problem early in the game. Nikola Pekovic (that big, burly man is a scary, scary dude… I bet he bench-presses trucks before each game) killed them inside to the tune of 25 points and 13 boards (SIX OFFENSIVE). At times, Derrick Williams (who scored 22 points) got into the paint effortlessly. Ricky Rubio (15 points and 10 assists) was running to his spots with no resistance. And, good grief, Michael Beasley scored 15 points in 16 minutes! Good thing that the Lakers were able to turn it up defensively as the game wore on (and before it was too late).

Lakers were sloppy with the ball early (5 turnovers in the first four and a half minutes). The Lakers ended up with 17 turnovers at the end. Would like to see them cut that down.

Well, yes, we’d like to see the bench score more. As mentioned, they only had 13 points. And just when I thought Mike Brown had settled on a rotation, Troy Murphy gets little playing time and Andrew Goudelock didn’t even see the floor at all (WHAT?!). I applauded Josh McRoberts’ effort but what did Jason Kapono do (who is somehow a +6?!)? I’ll wait.

THE UGLY
If you love the Lakers, you wanna forget the first quarter of play. Wolves 33, Lakers 21. I was SO sure they were going to let us down.

Luckily for us, they won. Actually, I’m pretty angry that they won. Because they should’ve beaten the two other teams. Ugh.

THE PLAY OF THE GAME
I’ll take the Bynum alley-oop jam with 2:42 left in the game (this was after he blocked Rubio’s jumper). Like I said, he posed like the NBA Elite halfcourt glitch right after. That was a good laugh.

Oh, silly Lakers. Quit playin’ games with my heart, you guys. I know what you’re capable of but I don’t even know what to make of you guys anymore. But then again, maybe I should’ve expected this. I joked around a few recaps back that the Lakers would lose winnable games and win difficult games. So I guess with these Lakers, it’s come down to one game at a time?

The Lakers face those evil, evil, evil Celtics on a Sunday afternoon. Even if these teams aren’t as good this year, this is still going to be a very intense game. It’s going to be at the comfy Staples Center where they are 17-2.

On a personal note, the Lakers have won the last five games I’ve recapped. So maybe if you want to petition Darius to have me recap the rest of the season, you could. I’ll also take bribes.

Have a good weekend, ladies and gentlemen!

Rey Moralde

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