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That was quite the fun game. But in the end, the Blazers became the #1 team in the West (technically, since they beat the Spurs earlier this season) after beating the Lakers, 114-108.

The Lakers have been resilient for most of the season and they showed that in this game. L.A. was down, 21-4, at one point. But they caught the Blazers in the second half as they got a great boost from Xavier Henry and Robert Sacre. Unfortunately, Jordan Farmar was lost to a hamstring injury, which was pretty big considering how well he has played this season, especially the last few games. I was ready for Steve Blake to play the entire second half; the Lakers aren’t going to play until Friday so I didn’t see any problems with him going the distance.

Unfortunately, the Blazers’ shooting and ball movement overwhelmed the Lakers in the third. They dropped 41 in that quarter and it seemed like it was over by then. The Lakers’ starters couldn’t get anything going and Mike D’Antoni went with a ragtag bunch.

The weird line-up of Robert Sacre, Wesley Johnson, Shawne Williams, Nick Young, and Xavier Henry (who played point in place of a tired Blake) got the Lakers back in the game. They were energetic on both sides of the ball (Xavier Henry’s dunks, Jodie Meeks’ threes, and Wesley Johnson’s block really got the Staples crowd unglued) and were able to get the team within one. But Wesley Matthews (who has been so good behind the arc this season) and Damian Lillard (26 points) made huge three-pointers. The Lakers really had no business being in a close game after being down 20 twice but they made it one hell of an entertaining contest. Like I’ve said many times in the past, sometimes, that’s all you can ask for.

Henry led the way with a career-high 27 points. Jodie Meeks had 20 points, Nick Young had 17, and Steve Blake had 13 points and nine assists. Robert Sacre had 12 points, a career-high for himself. And Shawne Williams (four points, eight rebounds) made big plays in the fourth as well. Pau Gasol played horribly (six points on 3/15 shooting, although a bad ankle is bothering him) after a few good games. The Lakers had won five of six coming into this game and this loss stops a little momentum but these guys are just so fun to watch since most of us had no expectations for the team. As for Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge was nearly unstoppable early; he had 27 points overall.

Funny thing is that the Lakers are 9-9. That’s a better 18-game start than last year’s team when they were 8-10; that squad was superstar-laden if you guys remember *cough*. The Lakers don’t play again until Friday when they go to Sleep Train Arena (zzzzzzzzz) to face the Sacramento Kings. A certain dude who wears #24 may come back to the Lakers for that game (sorry; it’s not Lloyd Daniels or Jim Jackson). THAT could be interesting.

In the meantime, we’ll have a little injury watch (Farmar, Steve Nash, Kobe) this week before the Lakers play again. The Lakers just had four straight days off two weeks ago, too. Weird scheduling.

Entertaining game, everybody.

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? The Lakers got their fifth win of the season in a fun Sunday night game against the Detroit Pistons (well, not so fun for Detroit), 114-99.

I felt Steve Blake set the tone early with his floor game. He had eight assists in the first period alone setting up his teammates on the right spots (like Wesley Johnson on alley-oops and Jordan Hill cutting to the basket). However, the Lakers defense seemed non-existent in the first half; the Pistons shot over 62 percent in the first 24. Detroit reminded the Lakers of their crosstown rivals with their alley-oops (that Brandon Jennings pass off the glass to Andre Drummond for the alley-oop was filthy).

Then the Lakers caught fire. Detroit’s shooting had to come down to Earth and, boy, did the Lakers take advantage. The Lakers turned up the defensive intensity, limiting the Pistons to 36 percent shooting in the second half. Jordan Hill seemed to be everywhere on both ends of the floor; he was scoring inside and outside and he was grabbing every rebound. And Nick Young (who continues to play well off the bench) ignited the run with back-to-back threes. Jordan Farmar caught fire as well (after a pretty bad slump the previous couple of games); he made a jumper to beat the third quarter buzzer. Overall, the Lakers scored 16 unanswered and by the time Jennings’ chucking finally started to pay off (he ended with 23 points and 14 assists), it was too late. What’s more: the Lakers were able to prevent Detroit from hitting the century mark, sending the fans at Staples with free food that starts with a “t” and ends with “-acos.”

Overall, this game was so much fun to watch (I think I already mentioned that, right?). Jordan Hill finished with an all-world performance of 24 points and 17 rebounds. Steve Blake had 16 assists (two short of his career high… and six short of ex-Laker Chris Duhon’s) to go along with his nine points. Blake has had double digits in assists in the last four games. Nick Young scored 19 points, his fourth straight game with double digits off the bench. Wesley Johnson had a few athletic plays that made you think he jumped off the rafters; he had 13 points. And Pau Gasol had a nice all-around game with 12 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.

Lakers won’t be playing again until Friday when they face the Golden State Warriors. I know the Lakers are 5-7 but, for now, let’s enjoy this win. And we can enjoy this for the next few days.

The Lakers fell to the Nuggets, 111-99, after blowing out the Pelicans last night. They are now 0-3 on the second game of a back-to-back.

After a quick 8-0 start by the Lakers, it showed that the Lakers were on the tail end of a back-to-back. They looked tired in the first half; it was like the Nuggets were on Windows 8.1 while the Lakers were on Windows 95.

Still, the Lakers had a pretty strong third quarter, holding Denver to under 29 percent shooting in that period. So from time to time, you’ll get some good defense from the Lakers. Unfortunately, the Lakers couldn’t stop Timofey Mozgov throughout the contest; he ended with 23 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks. We all know the Lakers’ penchant of letting role players have all-star nights; Mozgov was that guy tonight. Wilson Chandler, who played his first game this season, also made some big threes in the fourth that helped close the door on the Lakers.

Denver seemed to score at will inside the paint. They scored 22 of their 33 first quarter points in the painted area. The Nuggets would end up having 60 of those points at the end.

Pau Gasol had his best scoring output this season with 25 points (on 27 shots). But we now know he’s dealing with a strained foot to add to that upper respiratory infection. Jordan Hill helped the Lakers get some energy back in the second half; he had 18 points and 15 rebounds. Steve Blake played another excellent floor game with 15 points and 11 assists. But once again, like they did against the Pelicans, they let this one get away in the fourth quarter despite all the sloppiness that happened in the first three quarters. As much as they had that effort in the second half, it would’ve been nice if they were able to take advantage of those second, third, and fourth chances. And Nick Young, you probably don’t want to inbound the ball to somebody who has his back turned.

The Lakers have been wildly up and down thus far but with this level of talent from that team, that is to be expected. They go back to Staples Center and play against the struggling Memphis Grizzlies on Friday (on a personal note, Friday is my birthday!). L.A. starts a four-game home stand (and FOUR DAYS off coming up) then. They’d better take advantage as the Lakers are 1-4 on the road so far.

The final score didn’t indicate how close the game was throughout. The Pelicans beat the Lakers, 96-85.

The overall game was pretty tough to watch; both teams weren’t shooting very well (Lakers shot under 39 percent). But the game never got away from either team until the last few minutes. The Pelicans were only leading by three, 84-81, with 3:30 left in the game. After Anthony Davis made a jumper (more on him in a bit), here’s what the next few possessions looked like for the Lakers.

*Bad pass by Steve Blake. (Eric Gordon makes two foul shots.)
*Pau Gasol gets blocked. (Shot clock violation by the Pelicans.)
*Bad pass by Nick Young. (Tyreke Evans follow basket.)
*Bad pass by Steve Blake. (Davis bucket.)
*Pau Gasol gets blocked again. (Davis bucket and draws the foul for a three-point play.)

Add in the Jrue Holiday free throw and it was a 12-0 run in less than three minutes. That, of course, put away the game.

Davis was dominant the entire game (one of the few aesthetically-pleasing things about this game; I meant his play, of course). He had 32 points, 12 rebounds, and six blocks. Pau Gasol (3/12 FG shooting) couldn’t do anything against him.

Chris Kaman did play well and showed an array of spin moves. He led the Lakers in scoring with 16 points. Curiously enough, he didn’t play in the fourth quarter in favor of Jordan Hill. Hill did grab 13 rebounds in 21 minutes of play. Steve Blake played a nice floor game with 13 points and eight assists but those two bad passes he threw loomed large. Nick Young (13 points) and Jodie Meeks (11 points) put in some steady shooting. Pau Gasol’s struggles are starting to concern me but he did go against Anthony Davis in this game. Still, it’s something to think about. Going into this game, Gasol and Meeks led the Lakers in scoring at 12.5 points per contest. I’m sure Gasol can do better than that.

The Lakers couldn’t stop Davis and take care of the basketball at the end of the game. That’s what ultimately cost them. Maybe they were tired after that emotional win over Houston. I don’t know. All I know is that lack of execution will not win you a game.

At least, the Lakers are fighting? I didn’t exactly expect them to win this road game. But they fought and went down swinging and, sometimes, that’s all you can ask for. On the bright side, I’m glad there weren’t many camera shots of the Pelicans’ frightening mascot. That thing does not look like a pelican; that’s a psychotic chicken.

The Lakers are now 3-4; the record is certainly better than what I expected after seven games (I’m sure you guys have a different opinion and that’s fine). The Minnesota Timberwolves are visiting Staples at Sunday. Maybe they can get back on track at home.

Guys, I can’t comprehend this. And this is Opening Day!

Mostly picked by people (including me) to not make the postseason, the Los Angeles Lakers stunned one of the West favorites, the Los Angeles Clippers, 116-103.

It was already strange for me that the Lakers kept up with the Clippers in the first three quarters. Even when the Clippers went on that predictable run early in the third to go up, 63-55, the Lakers stayed close and took the lead after two Steve Blake threes.

Early in the game, I was pained by Steve Nash’s play. Nash is one of my favorite players of all-time but he looked slow and didn’t seem automatic with his beautiful shot anymore. He even got called for a double dribble violation.

But Pau Gasol’s play in the first half was quite pretty. He played better in this first half than seemingly all of last season. Pau showed it all from his hook shot to his feathery jumpshots that included a three-pointer. Gasol had 15 points and 13 boards in the contest.

The biggest surprise was the fourth quarter 41-point explosion by the Lakers. The Jordans (Farmar and Hill), Jodie Meeks, and Xavier Henry all played huge in the last 12 minutes (including defensively! WHAT?); the bench did so well that the starters never returned in the fourth. Xavier Henry led the way with 22 points, which, I’m sure, shocked everybody (hey, guys, let’s try to come up with a pun that has something to do with INSANITY!). Farmar’s confidence was never in question but his play on the court was excellent, going for 16 points and six assists. Jordan Hill snared seven of his eight rebounds on the offensive end and added 12 points. Even though Wesley Johnson took a lot of ill-advised shots, he made a big three that put the Lakers up eight. Meeks added 13 to the cause.

Repeat after me. Xavier Henry led the Lakers with 22 points. Eh?! And the Lakers bench had a whopping 76 points. Astonishing.

The Clippers looked comfortable… and then they got too comfortable. DeAndre Jordan (17 points and 11 rebounds) and Blake Griffin (19 points) jams were jarring as usual. Chris Paul was a wizard on setting his teammates up (11 assists) and J.J. Redick shot the lights out early (13 points). But the Lakers showed more tenacity and fed off a Staples Center crowd that got louder as the night went on. It felt like Mick Foley won the WWE title for the first time.

The Lakers aren’t going to go 14 for 29 behind the arc all the time. But that effort from the team is all we ever asked for. They outrebounded the Clippers, 52-40. And the 11 Laker players that played brought it and defended their house. If they keep giving that effort and determination, this team will be exponentially more fun than last season’s.

Yes, we didn’t give this squad much of a chance to make the postseason. But for tonight, the Lakers are undefeated. And tonight was an unbelievably fun night. One of the more memorable opening Laker games in recent memory.