Archives For Laker Analysis

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!

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 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.

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.

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!

Box Score: Lakers 115, Kings 107
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 119.8, Kings 111.5
True Shooting %: Lakers 65.5%, Kings 51.0%

This looked like the perfect trap game for the Lakers. The Lakers have a much-anticipated showdown against the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon. I’m sure the Kings don’t like being overlooked. But did the Lakers overlook them? Well…

There are a lot of kudos to give around. First off, Kobe Bryant, playing in that protective mask for the second straight game, played splendid. 38 points, 8 boards, and 3 steals. Efficient at 13 of 24 from the field and 11 of 14 from the foul line. He was in attack mode right from the start and he hardly forced the issue. Oh, and that three-pointer to essentially put away the game? Gangsta. Well done.

Andrew Bynum looked really good tonight. 19 points, 15 boards, and 3 blocks (not to mention, he altered a LOT of Sacramento’s shots). He overwhelmed the Kings frontline. Great job.

Metta World Peace got off to a slow start but finished strong as he had his strongest scoring output (15 points) since the second game of the season (when he scored 19 points, coincidentally, against the Kings). His timing was quite impeccable as he made a three-pointer (followed by a lay-up) to stop the Kings run in the 4th quarter.

Derek Fisher made all three of his shots (two BIG shots in the fourth quarter) AND played like a classic point guard. Seven assists by Fish tonight.

When Pau Gasol is not forcing lobs or listening to Lady Gaga, he contributed 15 points, 7 boards, and 4 dimes.

Lastly, I’ll give props to the bench for their play (well, mostly in the first half). Matt Barnes once again showed his hustle. He worked his way to 10 points. And Andrew Goudelock had a mini-explosion in the second quarter with 9 quick points. Troy Murphy hit the boards (6 rebounds) and Steve Blake was distributing (4 assists).

All of this contributed to a season-high 115 points for the L.A. Lakers. Beautiful offense (25 assists) played today.

The Lakers only played defense in the third quarter, it seemed.

But really, the Lakers let the Kings back into the game in the fourth quarter. The Sacramento subs showed a lot of heart in coming back. They chopped a 20-point Laker lead down to 5 as the Lakers got sloppy with the ball (5 of their 13 turnovers occurred in the top half of the fourth). It came down to the Lakers being more polished and experienced against the young Kings squad in this track meet of a game (somehow, the Kings only ended up with FIVE turnovers… gotta force more than that, L.A.).

I mean, all-in-all, the Lakers played really well considering the fast pace of this contest. They just can’t let teams get back into the game like this. The bench has to be better at sustaining the lead or putting the game farther away. The starters need to get their… oh, wait. Mike Brown would probably still give the starters run at the end. Never mind.

Also… Ron? I kinda want you to shoot less threes. Are you listening…?

Ask the Kings.

There are a few to pick from. But I decided to go with Bynum’s reverse jam alley-oop from Pau Gasol. Two seven-footers involved in that play? I’m sold!

I know there wasn’t much to talk about, but seriously, this was a fun game to watch (yay for offense!). And they beat a team that they SHOULD beat. No one’s really talking about it at the moment but the Lakers have won 7 of their last 9 games. I know the naysayers are like, “Well, it’s fool’s gold!” Or it was an “easy schedule.”  I guarantee that the complaints would be louder if the Lakers went 2-7 during this stretch. The Lakers are only taking care of business. Let them play ball. And they ARE looking better and better.

The Heat are coming to town for some Sunday afternoon action. I mean, it’s not like anybody is looking forward to this game, right?

Also, the Lakers are now 2-0 since the All-Star br… er… Kobe started wearing that mask. Maybe he should wear that thing forever.

Box Score: Lakers 111, Suns 99
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 106.7, Suns 95.2
True Shooting %: Lakers 62.9%, Suns 53.3%

It is always fun to watch Steve Nash play. Too bad, the Suns haven’t been as talented as in years past. But, of course, that’s also good news for Laker fans for that it’s an “easier” game for L.A.

Kobe Bean Bryant. 36 points (18 in the 3rd!), 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals. 14/25 shooting. Efficient!

Kobe took what the Suns defense gave him and capitalized. The Suns couldn’t stop him. Grant Hill? Jared Dudley? Shannon Brown? No problem. Kobe brought it all out. Left-handed hook shots. Midrange jumpers. Three-pointer on the break. Reverse lay-ups. And the great thing about this? It was all within the flow of the offense.

The ball movement was crisp (26 assists) in today’s game (yes, I get that Phoenix is not a defensive juggernaut), even if it got a little sloppy at times. But, at least, the idea was there to keep the ball moving (I saw cutting! Amazing!). The Lakers were decidedly more patient today and got away with good shots more often than not. As a result of all of this, the Lakers finished with 111 points in tonight’s game, a season high. It is their fourth time hitting 100 (in 30 games) but we hope to see more of this kind of offense from the Lakers. Like I said, it may have been against the Suns… but practice makes perfect and, hopefully, they can do this against tougher defensive squads.

Yes, the big guys (Bynum with 17 and 14) got theirs but it was SO nice to see the Laker bench do something good for a change. Matt Barnes scored a season-high 17 points and snatched 7 caroms. The Laker bench scored 34 points overall and they looked very confident in the second quarter when they sparked an 11-0 run.

The Lakers easily killed the Suns on the boards, 52-36. And the Lakers were better in their shot selection. They only put up 11 three-pointers but they made 5 of them.

This is easily the best I’ve seen the Lakers offense this season (even if they did have a bit of a lull in the fourth quarter). Every player on the court usually touched the basketball in possessions. They attacked the inside with much gusto tonight (whether it’s the bigs bullying or Kobe making his way through… season-high 54 points in the paint!).

The Suns had a hard time scoring in the 3rd, even though they scored 25 points. They missed eight straight shots (mostly jumpshots) as the Lakers packed it in the paint in a key 14-0 3rd quarter run (Suns didn’t score for nearly five minutes). Good to see them give Phoenix a hard time on the defensive end (they also subdued Steve Nash’s scoring: 11 points… even though he did get 17 assists). Most importantly, fans in Staples Center got tacos and Internet L.A. got virtual tacos!

Pau Gasol looked like a sad panda out there. Gasol couldn’t get anything going in the offense and was even missing bunnies out there. He still got his eighth consecutive double double but he got his last few points (he finished with 10 points and 13 boards) when the game was pretty much decided. Gasol looked weary for the most part and I wonder if the trade rumors are starting to take a toll on him.

I would definitely like to see better pick-and-roll play. Our fearless leader, Darius, brought up the fact that the guards are giving up their dribble too early on the pick-and-roll. It pretty much stops the offense and it gives the defense a chance to swarm on the guards.

We saw some of that in the fourth quarter and the Lakers, notorious for blowing leads, gave up a 20-point lead that they built in the 3rd quarter. The Suns managed to cut it down to 5 (with a spectacular Shannon Brown putback slam… hey, remember him?!) before the starters came back to put away the mess. As much as the bench played well, they can’t give up big leads like this. They looked more hesitant in the fourth quarter, quite the opposite from what we saw in the second quarter. Put it away next time, bench, since the starters need as much as rest as they can in this compressed season.

Before the Suns hit that wall in the 3rd quarter, the Lakers couldn’t stop Marcin Gortat. Gortat eventually ended up with 21 points and 16 rebounds but he was less effective in the second half (he had 14 by halftime).

Also, Shannon Brown exploded for 15 points in limited time. I’m sure the Lakers miss his production. Even if he took questionable shots. Right? No? Let’s move on.

Lakers had 19 turnovers (Suns had 17). Most of this sloppiness occurred in the first half. Steve Blake threw some careless passes. Andrew Bynum still doesn’t seem to know what to do when he draws a two-team. At least, it was against the Suns… and a helter-skelter Suns team at that. Can’t do that against a disciplined team like the Spurs or the Bulls.

Also, I happen to like Metta World Peace personally but that fastbreak where he missed two lay-ups (including a… no-look shot)? Yeah. Ugly. But it made me laugh. Never change, World Peace.

It was very early in the first quarter where everybody (well, at least, four players) touched the ball that ended with an Andrew Bynum alley-oop lay-up from a nice pass by Pau Gasol. That was such beautiful basketball that I KNOW we’re capable of seeing from the Lakers. Ball movement is good! Keep it up!

The Lakers and Suns have a rematch on Sunday but this time around, they’ll be in enemy territory. The Lakers have now won three straight and I’m a little bit encouraged, guys! Hopefully, they can keep it rolling as they have a pretty tough schedule before All-Star Weekend.

Why can’t the Lakers play Phoenix every game for the rest of the season? Or ’til the world ends (I ALMOST inserted Britney Spears lyrics here; good thing that I didn’t)?

Box Score: Lakers 86, Hawks 78
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 97.7, Hawks 88.6
True Shooting %: Lakers 50.0%, Hawks 41.9%

Honestly… going into this game, I knew watching the game was going to be a chore. I always have a hard time watching the Atlanta Hawks play. Add to the fact that the Lakers haven’t been all that fun to watch, either, and I thought to myself that this game had a potential for a stinker.

But let’s start out with the good first. The good? The Lakers won. Hurray.

And for the most part, the Lakers had nice ball movement (20 assists) and went to their bigs quite often (which is, you know, common sense) until the Lakers distanced themselves from the Hawks. Pau Gasol had a nice 20-point, 13-rebound, 4-block outing. He even made a corner 3! Andrew Bynum got off to a fast start and, while he wasn’t much of a factor in the second half, he ended up with 15 points and 15 boards. The bigs definitely helped in edging out the Hawks in the rebounding battle, 52-47.

I wanna give Metta World Peace some credit here. He scored 10 points and it was his first time in double digits since January 22nd. And it’s the second game in a row where he made two three-pointers (yes, including that hilarious 3-pointer before the half ended where he held on the ball for what seemed like a minute). He even had a delightful jam near the end of the game. Nice to see him have a good game. Would like to see him put it together in a string of games.

The bench played pretty well today. Andrew Goudelock (NO MORE MINI-MAMBAS, BILL MacDONALD!!!) led the subs with 10 points. Steve Blake dished out 6 assists. Troy Murphy made a couple of linedrive threes. And Matt Barnes hustled his way to 6 points and 5 boards (that block on Kirk Hinrich’s 3-pointer at the end of the 3rd was great).

The three-pointers were going in. 8 for 17 against the Hawks. Not bad for the team who continues to be last in three-point field goal percentage.

Also, while the Hawks were held to 34.4 percent shooting, the defense should get some of the credit but not all of it. It was unbelievable that the Hawks were missing lay-ups all game and the game may have been closer had they made those. The Hawks scored 10 points in the 3rd (the Lakers weren’t much better at 17).

Of course, the game would’ve been done earlier if the Lakers actually took care of business at the other end. Lakers ended up at 44 percent shooting but they were under 40 for a lot of the game.

The Lakers had 17 turnovers and they started out the third quarter with three passes thrown away.

Kobe Bryant wasn’t Kobe today as he shot 5/18 (10 points!). In fact, the offense went to a halt when he tried to get his points at the end of the second, which prompted the Hawks to go on an 11-0 run.

Derek Fisher, in the meantime, has to cut off his toes. He keeps shooting the worst 2-pt shot in the game (THE FOOT ON THE LINE!!!). But, at least, Jeff Teague, the opposing point guard, was only “held” to 18 points (we all know what Jeremy Lin and Jose Calderon did previously).

Not a lot of bad happened in this game but…

This game was ugly. Period. Very hard game to watch. The fourth quarter was a complete offensive explosion compared to the third for sure but check out these droughts. The Lakers didn’t score for more than six minutes in the second quarter because they stalled and went away from what got them the lead in the first palce. The Hawks didn’t make a field goal for a full nine minutes (last 8:33 of the 3rd) as they hurried jumpers and missed shots your grandmothers can probably make.

The Hawks play a lot of isolation ball (Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Jeff Teague among others) and it’s just not very fun to watch. The Lakers seem to play their best when they go inside to their bigs, which is, admittedly, not very fun to watch, either. And Kobe didn’t go off like he usually does… so what we’re left here is a slow, grinding, diffic… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

If you had other plans for Valentine’s Day, I applaud you. I love the win and, yes, I mentioned a lot of good for the Lakers here but that doesn’t mean it was aesthetically pleasing. This game would be the equivalent to an ugly girl with a great personality… and, in the end, you’ll slowly fall for her because of it. You’ll just have to embrace its faults.

Ron’s dunk was great and all but I’m going to go to the reverse lay-up by Kobe Bryant in the third quarter. It was vintage Kobe where he went under, from right to left, and finished with a twisting right-handed reverse lay-up. ‘Twas beautiful and one of the few bright spots for Kobe.

The Lakers have a home-and-home series against Phoenix next. The first battle starts at Staples Center on Friday. I expect Steve Nash to go for 2,000 points and 895 assists here but the Lakers SHOULD win this and make themselves a little more comfortable in the standings.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody.

Box Score: Lakers 85, Knicks 92
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 90.4, Knicks 97.9
True Shooting %: Lakers 50.0%, Knicks 54.5%

The Good:
I’m trying here, guys.

There were just a few stretches where you could say, “Okay, maybe the Lakers are going to be okay.” Pau Gasol (16 points) had a nice second quarter with 8 points but he got in foul trouble early in the 3rd. In desperation, Kobe Bryant (34 points) is second to none in terms of trying to rally his team back one-on-five.

Off the bench, Matt Barnes played a quiet good game with 11 points (5 for 6 shooting) and 6 boards.

I’m just grasping on straws here, aren’t I?

The Bad:
The Lakers looked like a tired team that just played an overtime game the night before (wait a minute). The porous shooting continues. 37.5 percent for the game.

At one point in the 3rd quarter, the Knicks were playing sloppily and the Lakers didn’t take advantage. Derek Fisher kept shooting the worst shots (foot on the line). Andrew Bynum looked tired/lazy out there (maybe it was because of the Knicks defense… but he only ended up with 3 points). Kobe Bryant started out 1 for 11 (before finishing with 11 for 29). Metta World Peace was definitely not living up to his name as he lost his composure. The bench (other than Barnes) once again failed to give them that lift. Steve Blake did a decent job defending that Knick guard that I will talk about in a bit but he shot 2 for 11 (1 for 8 behind the arc).

The Lakers left the Knicks open behind the arc but they were lucky that the Knicks only shot 5 for 21.

The Lakers turned the ball over often early. They ended up with 17 giveaways in the game.

Okay. Maybe he was underestimated but no one thought (well, maybe his parents did) that Jeremy Lin would explode for 38 points. They did the right thing initially by letting him shoot jumpers and getting physical with him. But they never did try to get the ball out of his hands. The Knick offense looked a bit more discombobulated with Lin not on the floor. Maybe it was magic or maybe he really is that friggin’ good of a basketball player… but Jeremy Lin was spectacular against the Lakers (NOBODY could stop him!). It’s a wonderful story and, even though I root for the Lakers, it is so nice to see someone like Jeremy Lin beat the odds and play out of his mind after he got a chance. I just hated that he did it against the Lakers.

The Ugly:
The Lakers fouled 29 times in the game. That’s almost like a dead giveaway of tired legs or lazy defense. But they sure couldn’t stop Jeremy Lin from getting into the paint. That gave the Knicks 11 more freethrows than L.A. and the margin of victory would’ve been larger had the Knicks made their freethrows (21 for 34).

The Play Of The Game:
I seriously had to think about this one. Remember that the Lakers never led in the game.

I’m going to have to go with Kobe’s difficult turnaround against Landry Fields with 5:26 left in the third. That was his second field goal of the game and he would go on to make four of his next five shots that put the Lakers within reach.

Unfortunately, Kobe had little help once again and the Lakers fell short as they continue to Jekyll and Hyde through the season.

It really is hard to find a balance for this Laker team. It’s a catch-22. Sometimes, they need Kobe to score 45 in a game. But yet people will clamor for Kobe to pass the ball inside. Sometimes, they need the bigs to have the ball. But yet people will clamor for Kobe to shoot more. It’s a no-win situation unless they win the game.

The Lakers face the Raptors on Sunday afternoon. You know how well they do on Sunday afternoon games. For all I know, the Lakers will go .500 the rest of the way as they beat powerhouse teams like Oklahoma City and lose to weak teams like New Orleans.

In short, this season has been frustrating for the Lakers. But, of course, you already knew that.

Box Score: Lakers 80, Magic 92
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 94.1, Magic 108.2
True Shooting %: Lakers 49.5%, Magic 55.6%

The Good:
Kobe Bryant had an efficient 30 points and 8 assists.

They showed some fight on some parts of the game. It was nice to see them play through Pau Gasol at the start of the third quarter (before going away from it again). The Lakers did turn up the defense better in the second half and I actually thought the Lakers had a chance to steal the game after they cut the lead down to eight. A quick-trigger technical foul on Kobe killed all that momentum.

The ball movement seemed a little better in this game than the contest against Miami. It’s just that the Lakers can’t throw a dime into the ocean and they end up building houses (BRICKING) inside Amway Center. They should go hide in those newly-built houses after the game. This performance was, overall, shameful.

The Bad:
I don’t even know where to start. I’m surprised that the Magic didn’t lead by 30 at one point.

Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol didn’t make any field goals in the first half. And while we touted the Bynum/Howard match-up, Dwight Howard thoroughly outplayed the Lakers center tonight (Howard had 21 points and 23 boards while Drew ended with a deceiving 10 points and 12 rebounds). It didn’t help that Bynum was in foul trouble the whole game. As for Gasol, he settled for too many jumpers once again. This has become a disturbing trend as we know how wonderful Pau is on the post. Like most of the Lakers, he looks completely lost in this new system. As for the rest of the Lakers, the bench continues its bad production. They only scored 12 points (and they are dead last at 19.9 points per game coming into Orlando). And I know I’m not the only one clamoring for this but it’d be very nice to get Steve Blake back soon. Also, the Lakers are missing Lamar Odom more and more everyday. But let’s deal with the cards the Lakers currently have.

Coming into the game, the Lakers were third in rebounding (45.1) while the Magic were 13th (42.7). Howard led the charge with 23 rebounds and helped outrebound the Lakers to the tune of 51-42. Once again, the Lakers got killed on the offensive glass (15-8).

It also looked like that the Lakers were tired after they got smashed by the Heat the night before. Mike Brown chose to play the starters through the end of that Miami game even though the result was already academic. Yes, we all know that Phil Jackson used to do that at times… but this one basically came back to bite the Lakers the following night.

Can’t forget that the Magic made 12 treys. The Lakers are the worst 3-point shooting team in the league and while they made six, they still got outscored by 18 behind the arc.

The Ugly:
We’d better get used to this. The Laker offense is terrible (only scored 100 or over once this season). Today was no exception… and the first quarter was ESPECIALLY ugly. They shot 4 for 21 (19 percent) in the opening quarter and only scored 10 points. The Lakers also went 7 minutes and 36 seconds of game time without a field goal before a Troy Murphy 3 stopped the bleeding. The Lakers would finish the first half at 11/38 (29 percent) and would end the game at a “somewhat respectable” 38 percent.

And good grief, I expected SOME jumpers to fall in for the Lakers but it seemed like they couldn’t make anything. I swore that every time the Lakers clanked an outside J, a brick would smash through my window every time.

I feel like at some point, Kobe is going to yell about shipping his teammates out. This is not getting any easier for him and the Lakers.

The Play Of The Game:
I have to pick one?

How about that difficult driving banker by Kobe early in the second quarter. It’s quite amazing he made that over three Magic defenders. But Laker fans would be hard-pressed to cheer for SOMETHING in this Laker game. Hopefully, it’s something completely different at Staples Center when they face the Pacers on Sunday night. At least, the Lakers are a tidy 9-1 at Staples.

Box Score: Lakers 94, Clippers 102
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 109.3, Clippers 118.6
True Shooting %: Lakers 57.0%, Clippers 55.7%

The Good:
I suppose people will point to Kobe Bryant dropping another 40+ game. After all, he pretty much kept the Lakers within striking distance in a game that was basically controlled by the Clippers for the most part. He finished with 42 points and shot 14 for 28 so it was still efficient despite the crazy perimeter shots he took. Kobe had a monster 3rd quarter where he scored 21 points and helped cut the lead down to 74-72 near the end of the stanza.

I’m going to point out Andrew Bynum’s disappearing act on the offensive end later but it was nice to see him continue being aggressive on the boards. He ended up with 16 so, at least, Drew is doing other things that don’t involve scoring.

Despite the sloppiness seen throughout the game, the Lakers only turned the ball over nine times (a nice drop from 17 against Cleveland). And they did show some energy in the 3rd quarter when the game got chippy. It was good to see the Lakers show that kind of moxie (even if it is for one quarter) even though they were playing their fourth game in five nights.

I’ll commend the Lakers for keeping the Clippers’ shooting percentage at 41.2 percent (they were mostly held under 40 percent throughout the game) but maybe it’s a product of the Clippers not really playing as smart and the Clippers missing shots that they should be making.

And, hey, the Lakers bench outscored the Clippers bench, 13-11! That’s good, right? Hello?

I suppose it’s fatigue but while we know that the Lakers are going to have trouble going against athletic squads like the Clippers, you wonder what would happen if they had enough energy the entire game. Nevertheless, they weren’t good enough to keep that winning streak going. Their run stops at 5 games.

The Bad:
On the surface, it looked like Pau Gasol (14 points and 10 boards) and Bynum (12 points and 16 boards) had good games. But they seemed so invisible in the second half (with Bynum last scoring with 6:20 left in the third and Pau last scoring with 10:44 left in the game). It really goes both ways. Yes, we know Kobe goes into this mode where he’s unconscious and just wants to score. But, hey, the bigs gotta demand the ball, too. I’m not saying give them more shots but give them more touches in the post (not shoot jumpers, Pau) to set up better shots for any Laker. Go inside-out. I mentioned yesterday that basketball can be a very simple game to play but sometimes, I wonder why they want to make it as hard as brain surgery.

How about the boardwork? The Lakers were crushed in the rebound department early on. They were able to whittle it down to a final of 50-42 boards in favor of the Clippers but the Clippers are the worst rebounding team in the league (with the Lakers being second best). Besides the fatigue, that seems inexplicable to me. Our favorite ball-grabber from the Clippers, Reggie Evans, had eight off the bench (six on the offensive end). For a guy that played only 17 minutes, he seemed to make more of an impact than Gasol and Bynum.

I’d like to see more inside-out play from the Lakers. I did notice Bynum’s face; he seemed a little upset about not getting touches. Maybe he should be more vocal about it. More communication, please.

Overall, the Lakers looked very lethargic on both sides out there. Sure, blame it on the fatigue and their heavy schedule and all teams are going to have a dud or two or twenty per season. The day off will do them well before they have to go against Dallas on Martin Luther King day.

As far as time off goes, it may get easier for the Lakers. They have played 14 games so far (tied with the Bulls for most games played in the league).

The Ugly:
It’s ugly on the Lakers side as Chris Paul dissected the Lakers all game long with 33 points and 6 assists. Whoever guarded Paul never stood a chance and while I applaud Darius Morris for his efforts, efforts just aren’t good enough, sometimes.

The game, overall, was hard to watch despite the fanfare. Both teams shot less than 40 percent for the most part and even though they only had 9 turnovers each, it seemed like the Lakers had trouble passing it to the post, there were a lot of botched plays, and, all the while, the referees mostly let them play this ugly brand of basketball. It was Slop City at its finest (yeah, I couldn’t help but make a Lob City reference… kill me).

The Play Of The Game:
On a Laker fastbreak in the third quarter, Kobe passed it to Andrew Bynum down the lane where Bynum made a nice spin move into a dunk as Chauncey Billups held him. It was nice footwork and a pretty play by Bynum and I thought this was going to be something of a surge by Bynum.

It wasn’t. That was the last time he scored in the game.

Lakers play the Mavericks on Monday where I figure an irritated Bynum is going to take his frustrations out on Roddy Beaubois. Maybe. That or we can see Kobe try to gun for 40 for the fifth straight game. That would be kinda fun.

Box Score: Lakers 97, Cavs 92
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 102.1, Cavs 96.8
True Shooting %: Lakers 59.8%, Cavs 50.8%

The Good:
When Kobe Bryant is making shots, it’s a thing of beauty.

Kobe finished with 40 for the third contest in a row (42 points). He was hitting from behind the arc (4/7). He was pretty efficient at 15/31. And when the bigs got touches, they were productive. Pau Gasol had 19 points and 10 boards… while Andrew Bynum (who probably should’ve yelled more to give him the bleepin’ ball) had 15 points and 11 rebounds. It didn’t make sense to me on why they didn’t go back to Bynum more because he got off to quite a great start as he went 5/5 for 10 points after the first. Of course, the Lakers needed every single one of those points from Kobe to put them over the top… but I feel like they could’ve had an easier road to this win.

When Kobe wasn’t chucking shots, their ball movement was fantastic. The Lakers finished with a season-high 30 assists and Derek Fisher had his first 10-assist game in a century (okay, since Jan. 11, 2009). I would’ve loved to see more movement in the fourth quarter, though. That way, we wouldn’t have stressed over this contest in the last half hour or so.

Also, I can’t forget to mention Matt Barnes, who has solidified his position as the starter on the 3 spot. He finished with 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 dimes. This spot will be his for a while.

And lastly, shoutout to Darius Morris for getting some PT with Steve Blake out.

The Bad:
This shouldn’t have finished as a five-point game.

We’d all like it better if they took care of the ball. They turned the ball often in the early parts of the game, which kept the game within striking distance. They finished with 17 turnovers, which is still a pretty high number. But I suppose that’s better than 27.

The Lakers were up as much as 19 points but they let them back into the game in the fourth quarter. And really, while everyone is going to praise Kobe for hitting 40 points for the third straight game, he basically played his own brand of basketball for most of the second half. The game of basketball can be really simple at times; what is wrong with feeding the bigs? Again, Bynum only had four more shots after the first quarter (and I had mentioned that he was being dominant at the early part of the game).

The Cavs also had too many offensive boards (Cavs had 13, Lakers had 7). Box out, Lakers. Shouldn’t be that difficult.

The Ugly:
To whoever watched this game at the fourth quarter? You knew how ugly it was. It seemed like the guards were content to dribble out the shotclock and then pass it to someone like Pau or Matt Barnes to bail them out. They didn’t score in the fourth until 6:31 left when Barnes cherrypicked for a dunk.

The starters played well for the most part, yes… but the bench was atrocious today. Yeah, it would’ve been nice if Metta World Peace (back, achilles) and Steve Blake (ribs) were able to play the game but I thought the bench could produce more than four points. On the other side, the Cavs’ bench scored 36 points. Yeah, that’s a huge disparity.

The Play Of The Game:
I like the back-to-back transition plays that involved both Pau Gasol and Matt Barnes. There was that fastbreak by the Lakers in the third quarter where Barnes lobbed it to Pau for an alley-oop lay-up. And then it was followed by Pau dribbling down the court that ended in an alley-oop dunk by Barnes. They should be BFFs after that little exchange there.

The Lakers are fun to watch when they’re moving the ball and in transition. They will need to do more of that against the Clippers tomorrow night.

But I suppose it’s nice to see Kobe Bryant to get 40 points again. I guess.