Around The World (Wide Web): Lakers Looking To Get Back On Track

Ryan Cole —  March 28, 2013

From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: The 1971-72 Lakers can exhale. Their 33-game winning streak is still the NBA’s longest. The current crop of Lakers took some pride in its preservation after the Miami Heat’s streak ended at 27 with a 101-97 loss Wednesday to the Chicago Bulls. Some players were even happy. “In a big way, I am,” said Pau Gasol, who in his six seasons with the Lakers has become friends with the coach of that ’71-72 team, Bill Sharman. “I’m glad that we kept the streak. It was about time that Miami lost.” The Heat put together a string of come-from-behind victories to prolong its winning ways since a Feb. 1 loss to Indiana, but it finally ended against Chicago as Bulls fans chanted “End of streak! End of streak!”

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: For all the body parts that have failed the Lakers this season, it’s clear that when Kobe Bryant’s mind is right on offense and Dwight Howard plays out of his mind on defense, the Lakers still can win. The Lakers avoided their fourth consecutive loss by handling Minnesota, 120-117, on Wednesday night in their first full game without Metta World Peace, possibly out for the season because of a knee injury. It was still close, with Bryant getting away with a possible foul as Ricky Rubio shot a potential tying 3-pointer before the final buzzer. Bryant modified his behavior after over-shooting in the past two games and looked to get teammates involved more from a point-guard position. The offense also flowed better without World Peace’s ball-stopping urges, and World Peace’s defensive presence wasn’t missed as much without Minnesota having much wing firepower and Howard dominating at that end anyway.

From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: The Los Angeles Lakers picked up a tight win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, final score 120-117. It wasn’t pretty, but the Lakers held on and are back to padding their playoff cushion. The Lakers dominated the paint tonight. They tallied up 48 points in the paint. Dwight Howard was active on both ends around the rim, ending the night with 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while also pulling down 16 rebounds and swatting five shots. Howard also had five steals on the night. The stats were stuffed.

From Suki Thind, Lakers Nation:  Contrary to popular belief, Kobe Bryant actually wants Dwight Howard more involved on the offensive end. Furthermore, after a bit of research, it’s for good reason. According to Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times, Dwight Howard was visibly upset at his lack of offensive impact during the Lakers’ 109-103 loss against the Golden State Warriors, even saying “I don’t really want to even talk about it.” However, when Bryant was asked about Howard and his offense, he had this to say: “I think he’s playing phenomenal. We’ve got to figure out a way to get him some more looks down low. I tried to step back as much as I could [Monday] and let that develop. But then [Howard hit] foul trouble and all of a sudden, it’s a 19-point game, can’t sit around much longer. We’ve got to figure that balance out.”

Ryan Cole