Deep and Wide
Posted by hiphopmama on February 18, 2009
LA Lakers 129, Golden State 121
This post is brought to you by Nyquil. Normally on Wednesdays I watch Lost with my sister and spend the rest of the night baffling over the new episode’s revelations and mysteries. Tonight, little sis downed some Nyquil halfway through the show and was ready to pass out by 10:00, so I took my leave and came back to watch the recording of this game instead. I suppose there’s always time to peruse Lost theories in my spare time, but the Lakers can’t wait.
I guess you can say this was an entertaining game, and at least it had a positive outcome, but we sure didn’t bring our A game for this one. Or rather, we were content to play our B-minus game until it mattered, and one quarter or so of our B-plus game was enough to get the win.
We played most of the game from about 6 points behind, occasionally making a run to tie it or cut it to 2. The Warriors came out on some kind of adrenaline high and blazed it up from the field, making damn near everything they threw up there. Literally, as when Stephen Jackson tossed up a lob for Monta Ellis only to see it drop through the net. And for three, no less. They finished the game shooting over 50%, but it would have been much worse had they kept up their first half pace.
In the meantime, we just kind of hung around and waited for them to come down from that initial high, which they inevitably did. The first eight or so minutes of the third quarter looked pretty dismal as the Warriors ran the lead up to 12 and parried every one of our attempts to get back in it. Then our big men went to work. Odom atoned for an iffy first half by getting to the rim repeatedly and even knocking down an outside shot, and Gasol muscled his way to a couple easy buckets. Kobe threw in a long three and a couple free throws, and before you knew it we were down just 2 heading into the fourth.
We still played from behind for most of the fourth quarter, but you sensed we were about to take the game by the throat at any minute. The big moment finally came at the 4:18 mark when Ariza made the first of two consecutive three-pointers to take the lead. From there, we never looked back, and it was mostly a free throw battle the rest of the way. Composure down the stretch sealed the deal, and the game seemed over long before it was a statistical certainty.
I think tonight’s performance comes down to a few things. One, it was a road game. Any time a team, especially a lesser team, hosts the Lakers, you know it’s going to be a sell-out and a highly charged atmosphere. It was both of those and more tonight, as the Warriors were riding a three game win streak and feeling pretty good about themselves. That alone was enough to give them the extra wind at their backs that kept them going. Consequently, when we came out of the gate slowly, it sparked their confidence and they managed to keep the hot shooting going for a long time. When Rony Turiaf is 5-of-5 in the third quarter on a variety of mid-range jumpers and put-backs, you know the team has it working. But that kind of rhythm can’t last, and it didn’t tonight. I must say, we looked a little mentally fatigued out there in this one, which was why we really needed the bench to step up. Farmar gave us a nice boost again, and Ariza was the game-changer with his defense and shot making. Kobe somehow got to 30 points, but his role was that of a decoy for much of the game. He was the one who set up Ariza for both of those big threes. The defense wasn’t too good tonight, either. It wasn’t quite the revolving door defense we saw so much of a couple months ago, because the Warriors were making perimeter jumpers rather than lay-ups, but it was loose nonetheless. When we finally started crowding the lane late in the third quarter, we got immediate results, which makes sense given the youth an inexperience of this Warriors team.
Whatever, a win is a win, and we just racked up another one. Next up we have our final game against New Orleans at Staples, as we look to take the season series against them at 3-1. We beat them twice on their home floor, but they countered with a win in our building, so this should be another good match-up. Let’s just hope they have recovered their psychological edge by Friday evening, because they didn’t seem to have it tonight. Until it really mattered, that is.
Oh, and the title of this post is in reference to the fact that our depth saved us yet again. It is also, however, another reference to Aceyalone and his song of the same name off his debut album titled, coincidentally enough, All Balls Don’t Bounce. And if ya don’t know, now ya know.