So we’re going to have to make some allowances for this NBA season. Given the nature of this brutal schedule there are going to be some tired legs which will lead to some ugly nights of hoops.
Tonight’s contest at Staples was a pretty good example.
When last we saw the Lake Show they pulled their usual act of playing poorly in Portland. That made the Golden State Warriors your typical trap game. Luckily the Lakers have a coldblooded killer like Kobe Bryant to help to help avoid those traps.
Unfortunately it’s not likely KB24 will be dropping 39 a night like he did tonight. Though this is Mamba’s third straight thirty point outing.
In a game that featured missed dunks, bad defense and general sloppiness Bryant shined. His brilliant second half featured 26 points all of which were vital for victory. Let’s see how the haters will spin this one. He might have jacked up 28 shots but this was nothing like the last time we saw Kobe hoist that many attempts.
Now he didn’t completely carry the squad.
Clearly Andrew Bynum’s legs just weren’t there so it would be on Pau Gasol to pick up the slack.
The Spaniard was active and involved, posting a nice line of 17 and 11. While he was effective we’re stilling waiting to see the MVPau that teased us at the beginning of last season.
Of course since this is the struggling Mike Brown offense it wasn’t enough to get 39 from Kobe and a double-double from Gasol.
Enter Matt Barnes.
Proving again just how up and down this season will be. Barnes began the year behind Devin Ebanks and couldn’t even get on the court for the first two games. Flash forward to tonight and Barnes was brilliant. Some of that classic feistiness was back as evident by Barnes collecting 6 fouls and a seat on the bench.
Fortunately his 6th whistle came after 16 points, 6 boards and 5 dimes. That’s the type of night every coach dreams of getting from their small forward. Oh, the best part was Barnes did his damage on an astounding 7 makes on only 9 attempts.
Beyond that there wasn’t too much else to discuss for the Lakers.
The bench was pretty much irrelevant (except you, Troy Murphy). Metta World Peace clocked a total of 9 minutes. That’s pretty telling.
What is also telling is how those 19 turnovers by the Lakers kept the Warriors close all night. Giving an explosive squad like GSW extra possessions is an open invitation to allow their quick guards to further expose L.A.’s perimeter woes.
Even without Steph Curry the likes of Monta Ellis, Nate Robinson and even rookie Klay Thompson gave the Lakers enough troubles to make this one closer than necessary.
In the end a win is a win in this league. There are no style points, only Ws and Ls. This one put the Laker back above .500 but the question is how long will that last? So far we’ve seen the good, bad and the ugly of this Laker team. No telling which version will surface next. Coach Brown’s approach is appreciated but his message isn’t yet sinking in. Normally you’d say there is time to get it right. But this isn’t a normal season by any means. All you had to do was watch tonight’s game to learn that fact.