After Monday's error-filled exercise in making things harder than necessary in their three-point win over Golden State, the Lakers were right back at it Tuesday, again facing one of the NBA's downtrodden squads. This time, though, the Lakers took care of business in businesslike fashion. Save a minor bench meltdown in the second quarter- one from which the reserves would bounce back, as Andy noted last night- the Lakers controlled things throughout, dominated the post, and walked away with a 106-99 win.
The game wasn't really seven-points close, with L.A. controlling the action through the second half. But don't take my word for it. Here's what the rest of the media had to say:
-Sam Amick, Sacramento Bee (Congratulations to Sam, by the way, who is leaving the Bee and moving to AOL Fanhouse. He's one of the best writers out there, so having him on a national platform serves everyone well. Welcome to the Web (only) world!)
NEWS AND NOTEBOOKS
-Jordan Farmar loses playing time as Phil Jackson works Sasha Vujacic into lineup, Los Angeles Times
-Lakers looking to maintain control of the West, Los Angeles Daily News
-Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest poll well among NBA defenders, Los Angeles Daily News
AROUND THE BLOGS
-Forum Blue and Gold: Bigs power the win- "...In the first quarter alone, (Andrew) Bynum would have four dunks and an “and one” lay in off an offensive rebound. Spencer Hawes literally had no chance against big ‘Drew as Bynum just moved him to the side to establish the post and consistently made himself a big target for post entry passes. And when just moving Hawes aside didn’t work, Bynum used his superior length to tip offensive rebounds to himself and the corral them to earn the Lakers an extra possession. And then there was (Pau) Gasol. He of the multitude of post moves and returning mid-range game. Many have been down on Gasol lately and I can understand why with his penchant for flipping shots at the rim and laying the ball up instead of throwing the ball through the hoop like we expect our 7 footers to do. But tonight, we saw the return of the player that many have been calling the most skilled big man in the game."
-Silver Screen and Roll: Lakers get to 50 wins behind the bigs- "...For basically the entire first half, the Lakers' offense came from those three sources: Drew, Pau and Kobe. Everyone else was shooting atrociously, to the point that at the beginning of the third quarter, the Kings were heavily packing the lane on defense. There were a few possessions where there wasn't even a nominal attempt to guard Derek Fisher. Not until a few threes started dropping in the third did the offense regain its spacing and rhythm, and when it did, Sacramento had no hope. After scoring 1.09 points per possession in the first half, the Lakers scored 1.27 PPP in the second..."
-Sactown Royalty: Size matters for Lakers- "...The Lakers didn't have many blocks in their win over the Kings. In fact, Spencer Hawes alone had as many blocks (five) as the entire L.A. roster. But size does more than block shots. Size helped L.A.'s starting frontline, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, go 21-28 from the floor. Hawes is tall (see: five blocks), but Bynum clearly outsizes him, and it showed. Bynum owned the paint just about every second he was on the floor. Gasol is tall, too, and more like Hawes in terms of size. But Gasol uses his height so, so well, getting easy shots off over the top of his defenders, and keeping the ball away from the scrum in deep. Size helped L.A. grab a big share of offensive rebounds (14 in 46 opportunities, 30 percent). Bynum had five of those, but Ron Artest -- one of the most muscular small forwards in the league -- had three, as did Kobe Bryant, one of the strongest guards you'll see. Those offensive rebounds were about muscles, about strength, about power..."
Ball Don't Lie (Kelly Dwyer): Kobe still doesn't feed the bigs enough- "...It's Basketball 101 to feed the big man when he has it going, and Bryant just never gets that. Kobe had seven assists, he had a terrific game superficially with 30 points and nine boards as well, and he's to be commended for finding both Bynum and Gasol open under the basket for dunks at times, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about giving the ball up early, making yourself a threat away from the rock, and watch as two of this league's most talented (if not this league's most talented) 7-footers go to work. 29 other teams would kill for just one of these two, and the Lakers boast both. How can they continue to ignore them? Oh, I know. One makes mistakes, and one's soft. Guess what? Inconsistent and soft still score, board, pass, and block shots for you. Consistently. Unlike jump shots, which even for the greatest of shooters, are inconsistent..."
-LAT Lakers Blog: Lakers answer some- but not all- questions
-Mike Trudell's running diary, Lakers.com
-Shannon Brown entered Tuesday's game slumping, Land O'Lakers
-D.J. Mbenga can kick your *&@&^, Land O'Lakers
-So how could LBJ make it to LA? Lakernoise
Ding (OC Register) on Andrew Bynum's high level play of late: "...Ever since Lakers teammate Derek Fisher, 35, lit into the team facing a eight-point deficit against visiting Toronto on Friday night, the Lakers have gone harder and become happier – and won. More than anyone, Bynum has a newfound spring in his step. “He’s a great orator, and he’s able to speak to us and motivate us,” Bynum said of Fisher, “and he definitely did that for me.” Bynum was a late bloomer and didn’t go through the usual rigors of the amateur circuit as a prep phenom who – even when beaten up or worn down – had to produce for his team to win. He is still learning a lot of basic things, including playing hard at both ends even when you don’t feel that great. That, coincidentally, was the gist of Fisher’s speech to the team. Pau Gasol summarized Fisher’s words this way: “Let’s just play hard. Let’s give our very best. And that’s how things are going to turn around for us. That’s how we’re going to get our confidence back.” For Lakers veterans, it was a reminder. For Bynum, it was a revelation..."