The Lakers overcame a lot tonight in Portland. For starters they hade to battle their longtime nemesis the Blazers, a team and city that has given the Lake Show fits over the years. Then they had to contend with some truly awful officiating. As if that weren’t enough they had to deal with their own errors as 17 turnovers created plenty of opportunities for the opposition. Most daunting of all was the 10-point deficit they had to overcome late just to force OT.
A flat fourth looked likely to spell the Lakers’ demise. With seemingly nothing more than pride to play for, these guys dug deep and played with the heart of a champion by closing the quarter with an improbable 12-2 run highlighted by clutch shots from you know who.
Kobe Bryant owned the second half but Ron Artest gets the game ball. You heard right. Ron Ron was brilliant!
In his best effort of the season, Artest did it all. He dropped 24 on 8 of 13 including 5 of 6 from deep. But that was just his scoring. Artest also pulled down 6 boards, dished out 4 dimes and netted 2 steals. Ron came up with a crucial three late that helped spark the run that would tie this game up then grabbed an offensive rebound in OT that helped seal the deal.
Naturally it will be Mamba’s game high 37 that will get the headlines. As we’ve come to expect KB24 did work when it mattered most. He was unstoppable in the second half but his two clutch shots in the final seconds of regulation will be remembered most.
Before we get lost in all this Kobe/Ron love, let’s give some props to the entire squad for yet another inspired effort on both ends. Despite some lapses in the defensive rotations, the overall commitment was three-peat worthy.
Only three Blazers cracked double figures. LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum were a tough cover but the Lakers shut them down when the Blazers needed them most.
Many will claim the win in Boston as the biggest this season but I’m calling this one the most inspired. Phil Jackson is starting to tighten the reigns. He kept his players on a short leash as mistakes were met with either benching or stern words.
Not saying all is right in Laker Land but things are really looking up. This was one of those truly inspired wins that can help to get those championship juices flowing.
There are few things better then seeing a raucous crowd quieted and then sent to the exits when there is still time on the clock. A win to be proud of for sure!