The young Lakers have a lot of work to do before they reach their apex, but the Rockets have a lot of work to do before they can challenge our Lake Show. The Lakers spotted the Rockets a 14-point headstart heading into a three-quarter game and still blew them away. Here are my post-game reflections…
- The Lakers hold Ron-Ron and T-Mac to 3-22. Tonight, No. 24 looked like the league’s best defender, not No. 96. Which leads me to two things: A.) With many other Lakers capable of putting up points in bunches, does Kob have his eyes set on the DPOY award? B.) Why in the hell is the Tru Weirdo rocking the No. 96? I just looked it up, and that’s how many people bought his debut rap album. Way to pay back the fans, Ronnie, and not with your fists this time. Oh, how you’ve grown.
- Speaking of the beefy Artest, the guy looks more like Rampage Jackson than he does a basketball player (insert Basketbrawl joke here). I think even Rampage would have passed up that ill-advised corner three he took after a steal early in the second half, but he made it. A good portion of Ron’s success can be attributed to his madness, so I suppose you’ve gotta let Ron be Ron if you’re the Rockets.
- That Kobe hanging, switcheroo, left-handed floater he sunk over Yao Ming was a thing of beauty. While I’m on the topic of Yao, the dude was pretty demonstrative tonight. He threw a shit-fit temper tantrum after a turnover and then looked like a pouting toddler over on the bench during the game’s waning moments.
- Trevor Ariza’s only stat that matters: a team-leading +34 plus-minus rating. So stoked about this kid.
- The Machine hit all of his shots tonight, but what impressed me even more from Sasha was the shots he passed up in favor of getting better looks for his teammates and even himself.
- Jordan Farmar is playing with so much swagger right now. 16 points, six assists and two steals with a +29 plus-minus. This second unit has the chance to become one of the best ever, and that’s largely due to his growth.
- Speaking of the second unit, I think we should get used to them having better plus-minus rankings than the starters. Almost every team in the L has talent in its starting line-up. No team can match the firepower of the Lakers’ bench with Odom as its sixth man and Ariza and Farmar playing lights out. If Sasha can build on tonight’s performance, they’ll really start to work over other team’s bench units.
- The only celeb I saw in the stands was Lou Adler. Did Artest scare the rest off? Oh, I did see one of the Waltons sitting in the front row kind of bored…wait a minute — that was Luke!
- Pau Gasol wasn’t very happy with Carl Landry’s elbows, and he took it out on the Rockets to the tune of 20 and 15. He also joined the Lakers block party as he had three of his own.
- The 39-point highlight reel fourth quarter filled with alley oops had me up out of my seat quite a few times, which is saying something considering I tweaked my back pretty good this weekend. I think I preferred the Ariza-to-Kobe alley over the Jordan-to-Diaper Drew one, but I was a last-minute swing voter. If Yao only would have been a little more directly in the line of fire, that would have swayed my vote.
- Aaron Brooks is a baller. He may be diminutive, but he’s tough, fearless, pesty and has “Reggieland” range. This isn’t the last time we hear from him.
- Luis Scola looks like this. At least from his profile he does. Cameraman, please shoot him only from the front. We don’t want young NBA fans having nightmares, now do we?
- Is anybody going to do anything about Shane Battier stealing that poor usher’s bright red sports coat?
- The only thing uglier than that sports coat is the Rockets’ unis. So fugly.
Overall it was a great game. Well, minus the first 12 minutes. I’m pretty jacked about seeing how our squad fares in its back-to-back road games against the Mavs and Hornets Tuesday and Wednesday. If they come out of that road trip unscathed, I’ll be really impressed. The Mavs shouldn’t be a problem, but the Hornets on the road on night two of a back-to-back? Should be tough.