Going into their game against the Sacramento Kings, the Laker had lost four of five games. And it seemed bad going in with Kobe Bryant (foot) and Steve Nash (hip/back) nursing injuries. It started badly, too, as Nash went out after two minutes and didn’t return for the rest of the game.
But the Lakers played some great all-around ball after the first quarter as they stifled the Kings to 61 points in the last three quarters and won the game, 103-98.
What was really nice to see was some ball movement by the Lakers. 28 assists overall by Los Angeles. Saw a couple of high-low plays between Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard and saw Kobe Bryant make some wonderful decisions with the ball whenever the Kings threw the farm at him. Kobe would end up having 14 assists (to go along with those 19 points and nine boards) and Gasol helped out on the dishing with 10 dimes.
Dwight looked jazzed the entire game, looking especially active in the third quarter, and protecting the rim against the Kings. He went for 24 points (10/14 shooting), 15 boards, and five blocks in what was probably one of his top five games this season. As for the rest of the team, Steve Blake (15 points), Jodie Meeks (14 points), and Antawn Jamison (10 points) provided some great support for the stars.
What was also great for the Lakers? They tied a season-low with seven turnovers in this game. This is the kind of game the Lakers are capable of but we wonder if it’s too late.
The Kings got off to a great start and looked ready to run the Lakers out of the building. But the Lakers really took it to the Kings in the third quarter, as they forced Sacramento to commit six turnovers and held them to 18 points. While the Kings still got some easy putbacks that were baffling, the Lakers played a great game on both ends in three quarters.
We probably would’ve been talking overtime had the Kings made a better play than DeMarcus Cousins putting up three-pointers in the waning seconds of the game. Those moments probably reminded some people of when Dawson from Dawson’s Creek forgot his best friend, Pacey’s, 16th birthday. They were basically thinking, “Why are you stupid?!” The Boogie Wonderland saga continues.
Utah also won earlier today so, while the Jazz and the Lakers have identical 38-36 records, they do own the tiebreaker. The Lakers really have to step it up in the last eight games of the regular season, which is probably the reason Kobe Bryant played all but 22 seconds. He knows what’s at stake at this point.
And speaking of Kobe, congrats to him passing Wilt Chamberlain for fourth overall in the NBA all-time scoring list. He has 31,434 points now and can pass Michael Jordan for third on the list (Jordan is 858 points ahead of Kobe). Maybe by then, we can start comparing Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, right? Right?!
In any case, the Lakers have the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. The Mavericks are 1 1/2 games behind the Jazz and the Lakers so this is a very important game for both squads.
Now let’s hope the Lakers can repeat this kind of performance against Dallas. As always, I am skeptical.
But for tonight, let’s all enjoy this win.