After back to back loses to the Nuggets and the Suns, the Lakers got back on track Tuesday night against the Grizzles. This was suppose to be a game that we dominated, and it started off that way. The second period of the game however had me getting pretty mad. We stopped playing defense, and we couldn’t buy a bucket. I don’t know what Phil told them at half time, but it worked. We came out in the 3rd quarter and just dominated. With a HUGE lead going into the 4th Phil was able to rest all of the starters and not really have to worry about it. The second unit stretched the lead to 20 before breaking down and having to regroup. Towards the end of the game Phil had to look down the bench and re-insert Pau to restore quick order. It did the trick, and the Lakers went on to win 99-89.
I was really looking forward to this game for a couple reasons. The most obvious being the Lakers getting back on track after consecutive losses. The other was the Kobe vs. OJ show. Let me tell you something, I was not disappointed at all. From the start they both came out of the gate strong. Kobe was playing LOCK DOWN defense on OJ, and still he was able to knock down some shots. There was one shot in particular that I was impressed with. It happened towards the beginning of the game when OJ had Kobe all over him, and he displayed some great footwork, stepped back, and hit a HIGH arching fade away over Kobe. I think it’s great when I see young players using Kobe’s move against him. Just shows that even after he’s gone the NBA will still have excitement and superstars.
The surprise of the night for me was DJ Mbenga. Usually he comes in for 3-5 mins, racks up about 5 fouls and goes back to warming the bench. Not tonight. For the short time he was in the game he DOMINATED it. If he wasn’t tallying a steal, he was throwing up another block. He was grabbing rebounds, and most importantly to me, HE WAS KNOCKING DOWN JUMP SHOTS!..What? Mbenga? This is what I’ve been waiting for from him for a long time. he has the hustle, the overall skill to be good, just never shows it in games. This was his time. The numbers that he ended with really don’t do justice to what he did in that game. Congrats Mbenga on a solid game. One question for him though, “Can you please do that again?”
Even with Kobe Bryant dropping 31, 4 points shy of Robert Parrish on the all time scorers list, Lamar Odom had the best line of the night. He went 1-8 shooting and ended with 2 points, but almost posted a triple double. 2 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists, and 6 blocks. I’m not sure how many steals he had, but he had a couple as well. We had the offense from Kobe, so LO did exactly what we need him to do. Fill in the other blanks. Over the last month LO is FINALLY starting to play the consistent dominating basketball that he is capable of playing every game. I’m not sure what the mental change is, but I LOVE IT. Keep it up man.
The Lakers had 2 days off and will be playing Minnesota on Friday at home starting at 7:30pm. With Al Jefferson out this should be another “run away” game, but you never know with this squad. Brian Shaw was interviewed after halftime the other night and said something that is do perfect. “The Lakers need to learn the killer instinct.” When you go up on a team by 20, there is NO REASON why they should be able to come back make the game close. I do not care if ALL the starters are sitting on the bench, the 2nd unit needs to step it up. We cannot let teams back into games. Especially this late in the season heading into the playoffs. So tomorrow will be another test of our heart, and I don’t see the boys letting us down. I’m going to go ahead and predict that we win by at least 15 points, while getting all the fans tacos. I’ll start the chant now, “WE WANT TACOS…….WE WANT TACOS.”
Copyright 2009 – E. Mendez