The Lakers entered into the game with the mirror image of the Knicks 3-10 record. Would they be able to put another W in the books? Or would the Knicks shock the Lakers at Staples again? (remember Nate Robinson’s ridiculous game? I do) With what appears to be a much stronger Western Conference, it’s game’s like these that the Lakers can’t lose. Let’s get into the details:
First Quarter LAL 30 – NYK 24
The First quarter was a fast paced affair, and definitely something that D’antoni would want versus the larger Lakers team. He was obviously attempting to run the Lakers off the court, possibly banking on the fact that Pau’s conditioning is… not quite where it needs to be. Kobe and Andrew were the main catalysts in the triangle, with both scoring in double digits. I think Andrew had 11 points and 17 primal screams of rage. Honestly, is he going to get the call because he yelps? I doubt it.
First Quarter Notes/Highlights:
– Ron Artest’s Defense: He is absolutely locking down and showing some real fire on the defensive end. If this is what we’re going to get out of Ron, I’m excited. He’s going to be clutch for us this year- I can’t wait to see some stats once the season has worn on. What is he going to do in the big games versus ‘Bron, Carmelo, etc.
– Bynum: I can’t say enough about this guy right now. He’s absolutely dominant on offense (he still doesn’t have the same explosion, but it will return, and that’s the scary part)
Second Quarter LAL 55 – NYK 45
Phil definitely has been consistent with bringing Farmar off the bench first against smaller guards, and for the most part, Jordan has been responding well. Unfortunately, tonight… Eehhhhh his shot was definitely off; I’ll delve into this in the notes section. The unit assembled to start the second definitely got off to a rough start. Farmar, odom and brown didn’t really produce much and the overall flow of the game swung. Luckily for the Lakers, the Knicks, up to this point, had a horrible night going offensively. The score was relatively close throughout the entire quarter, but the lakers (read: Kobe) were able to break it up by getting to the foul line. While we’re at it, Kobe had a great half. I believe he went 7-10 from the field, but his ball hawking on defense led to two great steals. Looking back on the 1st half, I’d much rather the Lakers been up 20, but I’ll take a ten point lead going into the break.
Second Quarter Notes/Highlights:
– Farmar: His shot was off… but there just wasn’t the same fire from his game tonight. It didn’t seem like he was mentally in the game. Maybe the early misses threw him off a little bit, considering the kind of production he’s been creating early in the second throughout the year.
– Bynum’s Tantrum’s: I love the aggression he’s showing this season, but sometimes he gets a little carried away. I’m not one to say you can’t complain to the ref’s (just go to one of my rec league games), but he can’t lose focus because of a non-call. He got T’d up again tonight- I think he’s actually going to battle Kobe this year for most technicals, ha.
Third Quarter LAL 83 – NYK 62
Starting out a quarter with a double-digit lead is always nice, but the extra cushion can sometimes lead to complacency or slow starts. Luckily there was none of that this evening as the Lakers pushed out to an early lead on the heels of a 15-0 run that really put the game out of reach. “Owned “would be a great word to describe what the Lakers did to the Knicks this quarter, but the initial run was created mostly due to defense, the Knicks missing WIDE OPEN shots, and Kobe just being the man (see video embedded below). The Lakers closed the last few minutes strong with some great execution on offense and more than doubled their halftime lead. I’d say it was a solid third quarter.
Third Quarter Notes/Highlights:
– Bynum Benching: Andrew missed some really easy defensive assignments early and was relegated to the bench after maybe 2 total minutes. This was wrapped up by a lengthy conversation with Assistant Coach Brian Shaw after he hit the pine… eek.
– Courtside Cam: If you live in the SoCal area, or have league pass, the courtside cam is probably the best thing to happen to basketball. Ever. I would watch every game like this- who needs announcers! I’d rather hear player chatter anyway.
– Artest’s Passing (again): I haven’t seen it as much as I expected, but Ron had some great passes in this game. One particular play deserves to be singled out: Ron had the ball on the strongside baseline, around the three. As David Lee rushed out to cover him, Ron created with a nice dribble move baseline, and then feeding the cutting Gasol with a beautiful off the dribble shovel pass. Video below.
Fourth Quarter LAL 100 – NYK 90
With the Lakers sporting a huge lead, one would think that the reserves would get a ridiculous amount of burn, and the fans who paid ridiculous amounts for tickets would see an amazing 12 minutes of “Where Amazing Happens: Adam Morrison.” What ended up happening was an amazing display of ineptness from the bench and a 20-point lead slimmed down to 10. It’s sad to see Kobe have to return to close out the Knicks, but a win is a win.
Fourth Quarter Notes/Highlights:
– Garbage Time: Wow, way too much garbage time. One slightly comedic moment was when Bynum was called for goaltending on a Kobe teardrop. The look on Kobe’s face could only be described as, “confused-disgust.” Hilarious that he cares so much about one basket in a worthless game- I guess that is why Kobe is Kobe! There was probably one nice play, and i’ve included it for your viewing pleasure…
Video highlights (finally!)