Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
It could be a sure sign of the Mayan apocalypse as the Los Angeles Lakers reversed some very common trends that have plagued this already gloomy season.
When you have championship aspirations a 102-96 win over the NBA’s worst team is nothing to write home about. None the less a win is a much needed win for the Lakers even though it came at the expense of the Washington Wizards.
For the first time on this wretched road trip and for the first time in four games the Lakers are winners. This marks only the third road win of the season for the Lake Show in eleven attempts. It’s also only the second time this season the Lakers have won when Kobe Bryant scores 30.
But don’t think for a second this irregular victory came in conventional fashion. The same struggles reared their ugly heads once again.
L.A. did its best to give this one away blowing several leads including a 16-point advantage in the second half. There were also defensive lapses but not nearly as severe as the ones we’ve witnessed during this ugly period in the Lakers’ history.
What was refreshing was to see the Lakers respond to adversity. You didn’t see any of the typical finger pointing we’ve come to expect.
Something else that was very welcome was the production of Jodie Meeks off the bench. Continuing his inspired play Meeks hustled his way to an impressive 24-point outburst in a well deserved 30 minutes of burn. The former Wildcat was lights out from the field making 9 of his 14 field goal attempts including 4 of 7 from deep.
Metta World Peace dialed up the intensity scoring 13 but more importantly playing his high energy and harassing style of defense. That early effort also helped reverse another recent trend of slow starts by the Lakers. Tonight the team jumped on the Wizards early instead of falling behind and having to dig themselves out of a hole late.
Still, the Lakers were down in the second quarter and had to make a few runs to get this game back in control. It’s hard to overlook their sloppy play that did allow Washington to get as close as three in the fourth but finding a way to win is what it’s all about.
Kobe earned the highlight of the night for his tipped bucket of Dwight Howard’s free throw miss in the fourth. Not only was that hustle play indicative of the effort given but in typical Kobe fashion it ripped the hearts from the Wizards virtually erasing any chance of the Lakers losing to another lesser opponent.
With the last stop on this trip coming up Sunday in Philly there is still a chance to salvage this hellish trip. At this point finishing .500 on a road swing is a real improvement. Finally this team showed signs of improvement while maintaining a lead. It’s nothing to brag about but it is a start.