Lakers Are On The “Good Side of History.”


Mar 25, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) battles Los Angeles Lakers forward Ryan Kelly (4) for rebounding position under the basket during the second quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

If only the Lakers were a broken record; a broken record repeats itself. You know what you are going to get. But from game to game the Lakers tease you with what is possible and then what is probable. You never know what the performance is going to be. Or what the achievement is going to be. Or what the disaster is going to be. But. Every once in a while they play defense. Every once and a while they move the ball. Every once in a while they play hard. Every once in a while they have a sense of urgency. And they rebound. There was the Jodie Meeks 42 point performance against the Thunder. There was winning in Portland where Lakers teams usually go to die. There was Nick Young taking a charge against the Pistons in November, probably his first ever to seal a win. There was the home opener against the Clippers and the spectacular play by the bench. There was the Steve Blake game winning shot in Houston. The Lakers beat Boston twice. They beat Philadelphia on Steve Nash’s birthday. Those were the highlights, isolated moments buttressed by a horror show. The 48 point loss to the Clippers. The string of 20+ point losses, the most in franchise history. The worst defense. The sorrowful offense. The three point shooting or bust. The senseless turnovers. The lack of ball movement. An angry Pau Gasol. The fairy tale idea of taking a non athletic, traded once, waived once D-league player and making him your starting point guard. Or the back up center who never plays and who the coach never speaks to. This is the Lakers year. Mostly unforgettable.

But last night, this group of guys, finally made it all worthwhile. They made it count. For all of the talk of the worst this and the worst that, for all of the talk of playing for a contract, and open audition season, and “next stop Europe”, for all of the plunging ratings and humiliating product on the floor-not that any of that changed- they had their one shining moment. Just like the horrors of this season can never be edited from their collective resumes neither can last night. It will forever be in the history books. Like Wilt’s 100 point game, it is a record that will never be broken. It was Jordan Hill, Chris Kaman, Jodie Meeks, Ryan Kelly, Wes Johnson, Kendall Marshall, Nick Young, Xavier Henry, Kent Bazemore, who etched their names in stone: 51 points in the third quarter. Most ever in Lakers History.

It takes a moment to digest that- most ever. The Lakers have been around since 1948. They have tons of records. They won 33 in a row. They had the highest field goal percentage in a season at 54%. They had the most assists in a season, averaging 31. They had the largest margin of victory in a home game- 63 and the largest margin of victory in road game 47. Three years ago they gave up the fewest points since the shot clock era, 57 to the Cavaliers. Add to that list what they did last night. 51 points in a quarter.

They Lakers had no All Stars in the third quarter of the game last night against the New York Knicks.They socred 51 points to a team with Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Amare Stoudamire. All three of them have been All Stars. While Chris Kaman has played for four teams. Jordan Hill has played for three teams. Jodie Meeks has played for two teams. Ryan Kelly was a second round pick. The D-league claimed Kendall Marshall. Wesley Johnson had failed with two other teams. Xavier Henry has played for three teams. Nick Young has played for four teams. Kent Bazemore was buried on the bench in Golden State. Every one of them scored. Every one of them could claim some part of the 51 point Knick beat down.

Going into last night’s game the Knicks were three games out of a playoff spot. Without a first round draft pick (courtesy of the Carmelo Anthony trade) the playoffs are the Knicks only way of making this season seem worthwhile. So the Knicks had to win. They needed to win. While the Lakers are playing for contracts and they are playing for their careers in the NBA. The Lakers don’t want to have the worst record in Los Angeles Lakers history. They don’t want to have the third worst record in franchise history. But the fact is every team they play against, including the Bucks, will have more talent on the floor than the Lakers will have. That said, desire is desire.

How they did it

Jordan Hill made free throws, a jump hook and a layup. Chris Kaman made a jump shoot, a jump hook, and two layuups. Jodie Meeks made two threes and a driving layup. Ryan Kelly made a three. Wesley Johnson made a layup. Kendall Marshall made a three and a 20 foot jumper. Xavier Henry made a jump shot, a free throw, a missed free throw and then the rebound and a dunk and another free throw. He also added in a layup. Nick Young had a four point play and free throws. Kent Bazemore had a three point play. In the quarter they shot a sick 73%. They shot 66% from three. They made 7 of 8 free throws. The only free throw they missed turned into a dunk and another free throw. They had 11 assists. They had one turnover.

Look at the sun too long and your eyes begin to burn. That is the message from that quarter. It will never happen again. It was one of those perfect quarters for a group of imperfect players who had certain hopes when the year began only to have it dissolve into a nightmare. But last night was last night. The third quarter was the third quarter. The Lakers players no one thought much of and who are still being ridiculed will be in the history books. It will be recorded forever. As Kent Bazemore said at the end of the game, “for once we are on the good side of history.”