After slamming the Lakers in the last edition of Week At A Glance, the Lakers awoke from the dead and won two home games in convincing fashion. It marks the first time the Lakers have won consecutive games this season.
On Sunday, Steve Blake had 16 assists and Jordan Hill had a career night with 24 points and 17 rebounds as the Lakers cruised in their victory over the Pistons. On Friday, the trend of having a different hero every game continued as Pau Gasol cashed in with 24 and Nick Young scored 21 in the Lakers 11th consecutive victory at home over the Warriors.
For the third time this season, the Lakers beat a championship contender and they did it without Kobe Bryant. There’s a lot to like about what the Lakers did this week. But let’s not get too excited. This could just could be another “upward leg” in the Lakers’ roller coaster season.
Either way, the Lakers will take it, especially with their upcoming schedule this week. After a home tilt against the Sacramento Kings, the Purple and Gold will head to the eastern time zone for the first time this season to take on the Wizards, Nets, and Pistons. All four of their opponents this week are under .500 and three of the four are in last place in their respective divisions. If the Lakers play the way they did this week against Detroit and Golden State, they could go 4-0 and get their 10th win of the season before the end of the month.
The Lakers will get favorable results if they continue to see Pau Gasol playing like the Gasol of old. Since the win against New Orleans, Gasol has improved all of his offensive numbers. He’s been a major reason why the Lakers are 3-2 in their last five games. Here’s a breakdown:
It also helps that he’s cut down on his threes. He took seven three pointers in the first five games of the season. Since then, he’s only taken two (and he’s missed both of them).
Jordan Hill is also finally getting the minutes he deserves. He’s played 30 minutes or more in the last four games and he’s played at a high level in all of those games. He’s also made 17 of his last 19 free throws after going through a three game stretch where he only made one free throw over 11 attempts. He works hard, he gets to the line, he cleans the glass, and he seemingly does everything right. If he continues this and Kobe comes back at a high level, it won’t be farfetched to see him being the X-factor in pushing the Lakers from just another playoff team to a contender.
One Laker who hasn’t had a bump in playing time despite playing well is Jordan Farmar. He did have an off week last week, but he’s bounced back big time in the last two games. He’s a +34 with 20 points and 13 assists over the last two games.
Finally, there’s Nick Young, whose shooting percentage has been through the roof over the last three games. He’s shooting 50 percent. Again, this is Nick Young shooting 50 percent, so we know they haven’t been high percentage shots at all times. It’s not sustainable and we will probably see him regress to his mean during this four game road trip, but the Lakers will take it.