Honorable Mention Game– November 9, 2012: Lakers 101 Warriors 77
I hate to make light of a difficult situation, but this was the first game following Mike Brown’s firing. Whether it was fair to be fired after just five games, the 1-4 start following the 0-8 preseason were more than enough for the organization to determine if it simply was no longer the best fit. In this blowout of Golden State, although still short handed, the Lakers showed their very first signs of life. To the surprise of few, the Lakers went on a 4-1 streak under the new found freedom of Bernie Bickerstaff’s “let the talent be talented” approach.
2. February 9, 2012: Lakers 88 Celtics 87
Is there ever a better feeling than beating the Celtics in Boston? Outside of triumphing over the Celtics in a Finals, or hearing MVP chants for a much younger Kobe Bryant from the Boston crowd, it doesn’t get much better than beating the C’s on their home court and on an overtime tip-in for the game-winner. While Bryant was…Bryant, the night was dominated on the interior with the Lakers’ big men each recording a double-double. Although Bynum was a perplexing 6-15 from the field, his tip-in of an errant Bryant shot proved to be one of the deciding factors The Lakers played some timely defense, and Pau Gasol swatted away Ray Allen’s final attempt as the buzzer sounded.
1. March 4, 2012: Lakers 93 Heat 83
This game was proof of the fact that cold-blooded and calculated retribution is always better than the immediacy and gratification of revenge. Just one week after the infamous “message” foul from Dwyane Wade that resulted in a broken nose for Kobe Bryant in an All-Star game (no less), Bryant donned a protective mask as he surgically dissected and dismantled the Heat in front of a sold out crowd at Staples Center. While the ‘Masked Mamba’ was lethal, this game also marked the first truly positive game for a struggling Metta World Peace. After struggling with back and leg issues over the first couple months of the season, MWP’s 17 points, seven boards, and four steals proved he was finally feeling healthy.
Obviously, this has been quite the tumultuous year for both the Lakers and Lakers Nation alike. Following the greatest coaching legacy in NBA history, the Lakers have struggled to find the right mix of talent and coaching to return to a championship level of play. Hopefully, the hiring of Mike D’Antoni along with the returns of Steve Nash and Pau Gasol will lead to this team living up to the mountainous level of expectations the NBA-loving world had for the team heading into the season. Happy New Year, Lakers Nation. Let’s hope we all enjoy continued success in the present and future for the Purple and Gold.