We knew it was going to take an inspired effort to beat the Bobcats. For whatever reason they’ve owned the Lakers. What we didn’t expect was the price the Lake Show would have to pay to reverse the Charlotte curse.
This wasn’t a thing of beauty. But in the end the Lakers held off Charlotte and finally tamed the Bobcats to the tune of 92-84.
The headline is the how the Lakers finally executed from start to finish against their most puzzling opponent. But the unfolding story is the health of Derek Fisher.
It cost the Lakers an arm to beat the Bobcats. Specifically Fisher’s left arm.
Last night’s contest came down to the recent legacy of Laker big men as the past (Kwame Brown) squared off against the present (Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum). No surprise as the current group owned the pathetic past.
Bynum was once again in Altered Beast mode. From the opening tip Drew was active. He dominated the paint pulling down a season-high 17 boards while blocking 6 shots. Games like this remind you of just how important he is to the team.
But it wasn’t Bynum alone that owned Charlotte. The Spaniard took a bite out of the Bobcats as well. Gasol came out with a chip on his shoulder and a point to prove. His 20 and 10 came in impressive fashion as Pau worked the undersized Charlotte frontcourt. All of Pau’s athletic prowess was on full display in one stunning play when he pushed point on a break and dropped a beautiful no-look dime to Shannon Brown.
While the Laker bigs did what they do best, Kwame Brown did what he does best. Namely, he ruined things for the Lakers.
Late in the third quarter, Kwame and D-Fish got tangled as the two tussled. Fisher’s arm was stuck under one of Kwame’s bear claws and wouldn’t you know it Brown violently yanked the ball away from Fisher bending his left arm back like a stale Red Vine in the grasp of Rosie O’Donnell.
Bynum was standing right next to Fish and his reaction summed it up. Instead of immediately bending over to check on the wounded Fisher, Bynum grabbed his elbow and winced at the imagined pain of what D-Fish must be experiencing.
Typical Fisher, he was just trying to pester Kwame into committing a turnover but ended up with more than he bargained for. For his troubles Fisher was whistled for a loose ball foul and left the game never to return.
The curse of Charlotte could finally be over but the curse of Kwame still looms large.
As if that weren’t enough, Matt Barnes suffered a setback. Expected to make his highly anticipated return, Barnes’ knee acted up after warm-ups and he never found his way onto the court. Oh…and for good measure Devin Ebanks fractured his tibia by falling into a chair.
When it rains it pours. Even in Los Angeles.
All this bad news on a night that should have been more of a relief than a regret. What’s worse is the Lakers could be shorthanded for the tough test anticipated game on Sunday in San Antonio.
While Derek Fisher’s iron man streak could be in jeopardy, Phil Jackson doubts he’ll be without his starting point guard for the upcoming road trip.
“I think he’ll be ready. He’s strong as an ox. He’s got enough strength to probably hold it together.”
And PJ’s going to need his squad to be at full strength. He didn’t mince words when discussing the importance of the road swing.
“This trip is really like a make-or-break point of the season for us. If we play really well on this road trip, we have a chance to do things.”