With the way the Charlotte Bobcats have owned the Los Angeles Lakers in recent years you never take these contests lightly. With the Cats sporting the worst record in the league and the Lake Show getting ready to hit the road for their longest trip of the year, this one had trap written all over it.
Luckily for the Lakers it was opposite night at Staples.
Normally the Lakers struggle on offense and can’t buy a bucket from deep. 12 of 26 from deep and a 106 point explosion were anything but the norm. But that’s what happened tonight.
Normally the Lakers can’t get double figures from anybody else other than Kobe, Pau and Drew with the bench doing next to nothing. 44 from the bench and six Lakers in double figures are anything but expected. But that’s also what happened tonight.
Normally the Bobcats give the Lakers all they can handle. 73 points on 34% shooting wouldn’t trouble very many college teams. That’s exactly why Charlotte is looking like favorites to get the most ping pong balls in David Stern’s lottery.
Kobe was in Mamba mode early. The king snake set the tone with 18 points in the first frame. Bryant buried some of those impossible shots that quickly took any fight out of Charlotte. 24 is an off-night for Kobe these days but you’ll take them when they come in only 27 minutes of play.
Normally Kobe plays 38+ minutes a night. With six games on the road coming up KB24 will take any rest he can get.
Same goes for the rest of the starters who all got courtside seats for much of the second half. While the Cats got close for a second, and by close I mean within 13, it would be the stunning three-point shooting from the Lakers that put this one to bed.
How staggering was this three-point barrage by Los Angeles? Put it this way, Kobe shot 2 of 11 from deep, miserable numbers. Take his terrible performance away and the Lakers would have been 70% from three.
Troy Murphy is getting his stroke going. The big man was a perfect 4 of 4 with every shot coming in rhythm…and most were open looks. Those looks were thanks to some great ball movement by the Lake Show. The ball was being swung around Staples all night as the Lakers shared the rock.
Andrew Goudelock’s confidence is soaring. He hit 2 of his 4 threes and was in double figures for the third time in four games. Matt Barnes also hit double figures and displayed plenty of that activity that has become his trademark.
But as far as individual performances go, Andrew Bynum was the player of the game. Bynum celebrated the news of his first All-Star selection with 20 and 11 in dominating fashion. When Drew is this aggressive there is no chance of beating the Lakers. Congrats to Bynum on getting voted the starting center for the Western conference. He’s reached a goal that he’s so publicly discussed.
Hopefully the Lakers will build on the last two games. Two straight 100-point performances have shown some real promise for Mike Brown’s system. He’ll be the first to remind you that this is still a learning process though. After winning in Minnesota the real hope is that the Lakers have learned how to win on the road. With the Grammys in town the Lakers are left to wander the hoops landscape away from Staples where they’ve only won twice this season. Tonight was a solid confidence builder, the perfect way to leave Los Angeles.