The Lakers have not had many, if any, nights like Tuesday’s at the Staples Center. Having only 3 wins prior contributes to that for sure, but it was even more than the fact the team banked another win in an account which has been too barren this year. It was, instead, in the process of getting the win how much of the action the team controlled and how the game captured the essence of what most would have hoped for this season.
A look at the box score tells a lot of the story:
- The team won every quarter, save the final period, but were only outscored by 2 in that 4th quarter.
- Kobe had his 5th consecutive good shooting night, hitting 7 of his 15 shots and all 5 of his FT’s for 22 points. He added 6 assists to only 2 turnovers and chipped in 3 rebounds too.
- Julius Randle recovered from his two-game funk to post a double-double of 14 and 14, including 6 offensive rebounds. He also hit half his 12 shots and both his FT’s.
- D’Angelo Russell scored 19 points on only 13 shot attempts and posted a career high 7 assists. He stuffed the stat-sheet more, too, by grabbing 4 rebounds and snagging 3 steals. He also only had a single turnover.
- Every starter was at least +20 on the night. Russell was a +4 — which is important since he spent a lot of time managing the 2nd unit while also playing down the stretch.
Those are just the numbers, though. When you watch the highlights, you can see how much fun this game was and why the crowd was more electric than it has been all season:
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 16, 2015
It’s premature to say whether this type of game can lead to future improved play. On any given night an entire team can play well, but this is more often the case on the better teams in the league. The Lakers have not been that this year, not with the ups and downs that come with young players or the struggles Kobe has gone through. However, Tuesday night did speak to a certain amount of potential. And if Kobe can continue to embrace the role he is while approximating the level of production he’s put forth, it would be a pretty big step in helping to stabilize things.
That’s a big if, though. As is getting consistent production from the young guys. And even if those things happen, the wins may not flow at any faster a rate than what they have to this point. But those are discussions for down the road. For now, I’m going to savor a nice win which offered more fun than I’ve had this season. For today, that is more than enough.