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.
THE PLAY OF THE GAME
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.