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After the first two games of this four game road trip it looked as if the Lakers were headed down the path to self-destruction. Two games later and the season suddenly seems salvageable.
Finally the Lakers put together a commanding performance from start to finish as they owned the Philadelphia 76ers by the final score of 111-98.
Not only is this L.A.’s second straight road win but it’s also the second consecutive contest they’ve won in which Kobe Bryant scores 30 or more. Today KB24 filled it up to the tune of 34.
But it was Metta World Peace that truly earned game honors.
Continuing his career resurgence MWP put up an unexpected line of 19 with 16 rebounds. His efficiency was off the charts and his energy was infectious. If nothing else Mike D’Antoni’s arrival might just end up being the best thing that’s happened to World Peace in years. With his career floundering had many (such as myself) wondering if this was the end. Considering his performance today it seems foolish to think Metta has nothing left in the tank.
One guy that has plenty of energy to burn these days is Jodie Meeks. His efforts are really making the Lakers bench a productive unit. Meeks got another well deserved 30+ minutes on the court and made them count scoring 12 on 10 shots.
But it was Darius Morris that made the Lake Show a more rounded squad as he scored a career-best 15 points in only 18 minutes of burn. The continued progression of Morris is welcomed with open arms. So too is the balanced scoring that led the way today.
Six Lakers scored in double figures today. Dwight Howard posted a double-double while Chris Duhon put in an honest day’s work as well. These types of games are what many envisioned when D’Antoni took the helm.
What nobody expected was inspired defense but today the Lakers played it. L.A. native Nick Young went off for 30 but otherwise most of the Sixers were held in check. For the first time in a long time the Lakers made a 48-minute commitment to playing D and while there were some moments of madness the overall result is what is most desired.
A split on this four game swing is about all we could have wished for. By winning two straight away from Staples the Lakers have shown the resilience we hoped would be there for a team struggling. Now they’re still two games below .500 but there is no reason not to believe things will get better so long as this type of effort is given on a consistent basis.