We’re well beyond the point in which moral victories are welcomed in Lakerland. Truth be told victories of the moral type never have a place of residence in Lakerland. So tonight’s 120-117 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves is welcome only because it ends a three game skid and keeps the Lake Show in the playoff hunt.
But hanging on to beat a team that has no business pushing a veteran squad like the Lakers is nothing to write home about.
L.A. was impressive on offense to be sure. A balanced attack featuring five Lakers in double figures was the stuff Mike D’Antoni ball is based on. So too was the small ball lineup Coach No D Antoni went with in the absence of Metta World Peace. The good news from this game is Pau Gasol looked much more like The Spaniard of old going for 17 and 9.
Kobe Bryant was his brilliant self once again as his turn-back-the-clock season continued with 31 points on 21 shots including a sick throwdown on a perfectly thrown lob. Mamba made clutch shots as this one got tense down the stretch but also missed a big free throw before committing what would have been a costly foul on Ricky Rubio had the refs not swallowed their whistles.
KB24 clearly hit Rubio on the arm as he jacked up a desperation three. That wasn’t the only bit of luck for the Lakers.
The former team from Minneapolis survived 21 turnovers against the current team in Minneapolis. The Lakers were also fortunate to hold on as both Bryant and Steve Nash missed some big free throws while the T-Wolves turned to the Hack-A-Howard.
D12 did work with 25 points, 16 boards and 5 blocks. But going 7 of 17 from the line and anchoring a defense that yielded 71 second half points is an indictment on Howard and the Lakers’ defense as a whole.
This one was ugly in many ways. Minnesota scored all too easily as 8 of the 11 Wolves who touched the court cracked double figures.
Yes, a win is a win. But at this point in the season how you win is more important that just winning. Its playoff time and the playoff teams are revealing themselves. The Lakers on the other hand are showing their shortcomings for the hoops world to see…the same shortcomings that have been present all year long.