The Lakers started off the 2011-2012 NBA season on a sour note when they let the game slip away to Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. Even though they lost the game, they showed a lot of perseverance as they played their first of four games without Andrew Bynum.
The Lakers were looking for their first win of the season as they played their second game of their back-to-back-to-back series against the Sacramento Kings, the first of 19 back-to-backs this season. The Kings are the youngest team in the NBA, so the Lakers were in for a long night of fast players.
Kobe Bryant started off the game ice cold as he went 2-6 and only scored seven points. Bryant moved effectively off the ball in the first half, but he struggled to find clear and open shots as the Kings defense kept putting pressure on his body.
The Lakers looked a bit lost on offense in the first quarter as they relied on Bryant to create his own shots. With the departure of Phil Jackson, the infamous triangle offense that Lakers have utilized for the past decade is being readjusted by coach Mike Brown.
There were signs of positivity from the Lakers big man Pau Gasol as he created offense out of a low post feed to find Troy Murphy for a three-pointer. Murphy is truly showing his value to the team as he was able to end the game with eight points and eight rebounds.
The Lakers trailed 20 – 21 at the end of the first quarter as Marcus Thornton slashed through the Lakers defense and capitalized on a driving layup with 5.5 second left. Lakers newcomer Andrew Goudelock showed his NBA inexperience by shooting the ball as the time ran out in the quarter.
Metta World Peace (MWP) was on fire during the second quarter as he dominated the Kings defense with three put-backs in the paint. He truly showed why coach Brown named him the leader of the bench as he had eight points in the quarter. MWP deserves a “Most Improved Player since the pre-season” award for his performance last night, as he ended the game with 19 points, four rebounds, and four assists.
Kobe Bryant attempted to patch up the wounds that the Kings were making in the first half, most evidently with a great off-the-glass fade-away jumper near the end of the second quarter.
Bryant did not appear to be bothered by his torn right hand ligament during the game as he kept shooting the ball, but unfortunately his shooting percentage told otherwise as he was a dismal 10 for 24 from the floor. He ended the night with 29 points, five rebounds, and six assists.