These days it takes a twenty point deficit or a team above .500 to get the Lakers interested in basketball. Well, every Laker except Kobe Bryant at least. In a loss you could have seen coming from a mile away, the Lake Show rolled over and cowered to the rival Kings. Typical of this team they were more focused on the task that awaited them Sunday instead of the one that was right in front of them on Friday.
Sacramento beat the Lakers at their own game by owning the paint. Grumpy rookie DeMarcus Cousins was a beast in the first half dropping 22 of his 27 points in the first 24 minutes of play. In the second half it would be Samuel Dalembert that took the torch and burned the Lakers with an amazing arsenal of jumpers. Yes, that is not a typo. Dalembert discovered a mid-range game, if only for one night.
Aside from Kobe, no other Laker came to play. KB24’s 26 points in the first half were more than needed otherwise this one would have gotten uglier much sooner.
Problem was that ugly was only delayed. By the time the third quarter was almost over the result was pretty much in the books. Trailing by as many as 20, the Lakers finally got the memo that the Kings were here to win.
The sense of urgency that should have been there from the tip finally appeared for the final quarter. Cutting the Kings’ lead all the way down to three would prove to be only a tease. Out of gas and out of excuses, the Lakers folded.
If you only read the box score instead of actually watching the game you might assume that Kobe’s 38 points on 27 shots were the culprit on the disappearance of the Laker bigs.
Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom had no desire to suit up and get physical. The three combined for just 25 points with Odom going 0 for 7 from the field. Bynum was active early but disappeared in the middle of the game while the Spaniard was MIA for the entire evening.
This was no way to tune-up for the clash with Boston Sunday. For whatever its worth, the C’s didn’t fare much better in their duel in the desert falling to Phoenix by 17.
But who cares about the Boston geriatric squad? Yes, I’m excited about the big game tomorrow but no matter the result this loss hurts.
Every time the Lakers show signs of the renewed championship focus this happens. They take their opponent lightly until it’s too late. It took three quarters for the Lake Show to answer the bell last night. Not exactly the killer instinct necessary to beat any team in the NBA, let alone one that entered the game with just 10 wins.