For a game that started off ugly, the Lakers sure did finish beautifully. Within the first five minutes of tonight’s contest the Lakers had more turnovers (5) than points (4). A lot of those TOs were a result of the Lakers actually trying too hard to force the ball inside. For good measure Ron Artest earned himself a first quarter technical for choking placing his hand around the neck of Shawne Williams. Things were looking bleak to say the least.
Phil Jackson was quick to call an uncharacteristic early timeout and from there things improved drastically.
In one of the best total team efforts all season, the Lakers got contributions from everyone. Most important of all is that the defense was dynamic and earned the Staples crowd a couple free tacos. For those that don’t know, that means the league’s highest scoring team was held below 100 points. In fact, the Laker defense only yielded 87 to Mike D’Antoni’s aggressive offense.
Kobe Bryant put on a show in the second half scoring 18 of his game high 27. KB24 also grabbed 10 boards and even earned himself a tech as well. But that was a pretty common theme as some shaky officiating angered Andrew Bynum enough to get tossed just 30 seconds into the start of the 4th.
Bynum’s ejection came when he was enjoying his best effort to date. Drew dropped 18, had 7 boards and 2 blocks. A pregame pep talk from Bill Walton inspired Bynum to get into Altered Beast mode as he dominated the paint.
I’m going to say this right now. When Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Bynum combine for 51 points and 39 rebounds the Lakers are unbeatable. Taking advantage of the finesse style New York plays, Pau and Lamar had their way all night. LO continues to make his case for an All-Star appearance with 13 and 18 in 27 minutes.
Not to be forgotten, Shannon Brown had 16 in 18 minutes off the pine including some highlight worthy dunks and clutch shots. ShanWow certainly picked up the slack in the first game of more to come without Matt Barnes.
After it was all said and done, the Lakers earned their 7th straight win against the Knicks, one for every day of the week. Still, the story is going to be the questionable officiating that resulted in Bynum’s ejection for simply asking the official “are you serious?” on a terrible foul call. Something tells me one of those two techs will be rescinded.
Having won four in row, the Lakers are slowly but surely returning to championship form. Things are looking up as the competition is ramping up…well…not just yet. Tuesday the LeBron-less Cavs come to Staples led by former Laker Byron Scott. Not counting those chickens just yet but with another effort like this there is no reason they shouldn’t roll over Cleveland.