Just when you think you’ve got this Lakers team all figured out the go and run circles around the San Antonio Spurs.
Just when you think Andrew Bynum is ready to check out he clocks in with one of the best efforts any Laker has ever made on the boards.
Just when you think the Lakers are content to sit third in the West they abuse the second seeded Spurs in a 98-84 rout.
There haven’t been many efforts like this one. In their third contest without Kobe Bryant the Lake Show hit its stride. Mixed results against the Suns and Hornets made most cringe when thinking what the Spurs might do to the Lakers.
But that’s why they play the game.
From the start this one was all Lakers all the time. L.A. owned the paint in every way possible. Bynum’s 30 rebounds were part of the Lakers 60-33 dominance on the boards. Drew became only the 5th Laker ever to grab 30 rebounds in a game joining George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Elgin Baylor. Yeah, he’s keeping company with a long legacy of Laker bigs. Scary stuff for the rest of the league.
As amazing as Andrew’s performance was it’s the total team effort that led to this commanding performance.
Metta World Peace has suddenly rediscovered his offense. He hit five of eight from three to lead the Lakers with 26 points. Those 26 would be the most Metta or Ron Artest has ever scored in a Laker jersey. Pau Gasol played Robin to Metta’s Batman with 21. He also got in on the rebounding act with 11 boards of his own.
Another area where some unexpected contributions came from was the bench. All season long L.A.’s second unit has languished. Tonight they flourished.
Both Matt Barnes and Steve Blake were in double figures off the bench, two of six Lakers that put doubles at the end of the box score. The Killer B’s combined to go 5 of 9 from beyond the arc with Blake burying a sick shot from the corner that officially ended any of the Spurs hopes.
San Antonio looked shocked. They weren’t ready for a Laker team this physical and inspired. I guess that rest Greg Popovich gave his big three didn’t help much.
The Lakers really helped themselves as they’ll face the Spurs twice more in the next two weeks. Almost like a playoff series, the Lakers just took game 1 on the visitor’s floor.
It is hard to explain just where this type of a performance comes from. This might have been the best game L.A. has played all season. They were certainly more focused than they’ve ever been. Not saying I want to see Kobe miss anymore games but if these guys can get a little more confidence so they won’t lean on Bryant once he’s back I wouldn’t argue with that.
Tags: 30 Rebounds Andrew Bynum Elgin Baylor George Mikan Greg Popovich Kareem Abdul-jabbar Kobe Bryant Matt Barnes Metta World Peace Pau Gasol Ron Artest San Antonio Spurs Steve Blake Wilt Chamberlain