Posted by hiphopmama on February 20, 2009
New Orleans 111, LA Lakers 115 (OT)
No preamble, just two quick points to start us off. 1) That was a bad call. Kobe pushed Chris Paul. End of story. AFTER that, their legs got tangled up and Kobe went to the ground, but Paul was only falling down in the first place because of the push. For a long time (AKA till the last minute of OT), I thought it was just a tough call that wouldn’t have changed the outcome. After watching that finish, I’m not so sure. Gotta be a tough one to stomach if you’re a Hornets fan. And 2) Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are fucking tools. It is virtually guaranteed that they will ruin any game they are calling, at least for me. I’m aware that plenty of people are fans of this partnership, but it rarely does anything for me, besides annoy me to death. I will concede that Van Gundy does occasionally make some good points that are rather perceptive and that you wouldn’t get from someone else. But the rest of the time, he is an irritating twat – and yes, I’ve used that word to refer to him before – whose mere existence grates on me. What’s worst is how these two, especially Jackson, can get going on one subject and just cling to it like Posey on Kobe’s golden arse. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
As for the actual game, it was a mixed affair. While watching the first half, I planned on titling this post “Clang” because of the hideous shooting from both teams, the Lakers in particular. I guess I’m spoiled by the usual smoothness of our offense, because watching us go 2-for-18 was so jarring that it had me diving with unnecessary enthusiasm into the task of folding laundry. Anything to distract myself. Then, when we pissed away a double digit fourth quarter lead, the title in my mind became “Reverting,” as in “to early season form.” THEN when we out-managed them in the final seconds to force overtime, the title became “Poise,” which we had and they didn’t. Finally, after watching us manage to almost implode in the waning moments, I gave up trying to sum up this game at all. It’s like trying to put a finger on the team’s overall drive. We all know they’re burning to finish what they started last year, but sometimes they indulge in these huge lapses at ridiculous times and end up losing to the Bobcats.
Individual performances were only slightly more comforting. Despite finishing with 39 and being magnificent in the extra period, Kobe was shite (yes, shite – I’ve been frequenting too many British soccer blogs lately) for much of the game. The only place he shot well was from the line, where his 10-for-10 really buoyed us along, while his 13-for-30 numbers from the field are inflated by his work in OT. No one really shot well, aside from Gasol, who looked positively human shooting 8-of-14. But his 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists were the most complete game we got from anyone else tonight, and he continues to show improved toughness in the paint, something we’ve always prayed for. Aside from Luke Walton – who had a stellar game with 14 points (5-for-8), 8 rebounds, and 4 assists – no one else even approached 50% shooting, and we finished the game at 41.9% as a team. Yuck.
As much as our bench usually helps us, tonight it was a huge bust. All the big leads we gave up came from, or at least started with, the second unit on the floor. For whatever reason, they just didn’t match up well against this Hornets team, so much so that we got shown up by the New Orleans bench instead, who held fast to their position while Paul and West got some rest. You can’t be too mad at ’em, though, seeing as how they usually play such a crucial role for us, but it was surprising to watch them flounder like that.
One note on the Mihm trade. While it was clearly a cost-cutting move and not too big a deal since he wasn’t playing all that much, it worries me that we have no real back-up center until Bynum comes back. Powell can fill in there a little bit, but at 6’9″/240 he’s just not a true five. All of which means increased PT for the front court guys, especially Gasol, who has averaged over 44 minutes a game in the two games since the trade. His 49 minutes in the overtime game tonight skew that a little bit, but he would have been at 45 in this one anyway. Odom’s minutes have also picked up, and he and Kobe both logged 45 tonight. Even at the beginning of the year Pau tended to play the most minutes, above Kobe by a small margin. Now that the intensity has picked up and Phil has settled on a rotation, his playing time has gone up and, with the Mihm trade, it is going up still further. He’s not an old man by any stretch, just 28 years old, but you have to be a little concerned since I don’t foresee the situation changing much until we get Bynum back. Unless we start blowing teams out, and actually holding onto big leads. That’ll be the day.
No highlights available yet, but when they are you can find them over at www.lakersmedia.com, which has some great quality video after each game.
UPDATE: Got some highlights for ya.