I don’t want to go with the clichéd “the Lakers flipped the switch” analysis but there really isn’t another way to describe what the Lake Show did in Utah last night. A game that looked like one of those pre All-Star break listless losses somehow became a blowout.
From 16 down in the second to 18 up in the fourth, the Lakers turned this game on its head eventually winning a by a final score of 96-85.
There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal and the shorthanded Utah Jazz were all kinds of deadly in the first half. CJ Miles was making fade away after fade away while Laker offense seemed stuck in neutral.
A run late in the second quarter got this game to within six. Then the halftime adjustments kicked in.
The second half was all Lakers all the time.
Andrew Bynum threw down a nasty dunk on Kyrylo Fesenko. Shannon Brown caught a sick oop. Steve Blake threw a beautiful lob to Pau Gasol in transition. Lamar Odom starting dropping three-point bombs from 30-feet out.
All that Laker dominance seems to bring out the pettiness in opponents. Already having to play without Matt Barnes due to Jason Terry’s unpunished punk move, the Lakers might have had to go without Kobe had he not calmed down quickly.
Bryant went right at Fesenko in transition, looking likely to put the large Ukrainian in a poster before Kyrylo committed a hard foul. As Kobe was being helped up from the floor Fesenko threw the ball at Bryant.
Kobe popped up ready to go to war but he was withheld and a ‘T’ was quickly called on Fesenko.
Cooler heads prevailed but the frustrations of dealing with the hottest team in hoops are obvious.
Speaking of frustrations. The folks in San Antonio can’t feel all that comfortable right about now. Notching their 9th win in a row, the Lake Show are now within a game and a half of the Spurs who dropped their 6th consecutive.
Still, the Lakers can’t get caught looking too far ahead. On Sunday they’ll clash with another team on a hot streak – the Denver Nuggets. Then after that it’s another game against Utah.
Besides, with the way things are going the Lakers just need to worry about taking care of their business. The rest of the league seems more than capable of handling the Spurs these days. So all Phil’s got to do is keep his team focused on the task at hand, happy to let the Spurs fall right into their laps.