UCLA Basketball Reunion
Posted by hiphopmama on February 24, 2009
LA Lakers 107, Oklahoma City 93
Could we have had any more UCLA alumni in the game tonight? At some point or other, Earl Watson, Russell Westbrook, Trevor Ariza, and Jordan Farmar all made appearances as former Bruins. It had nothing to do with any aspect of the game, but it was still interesting. How often does that happen anyway?
I have a new theory about why we don’t put teams away before absolutely necessary. It’s not that we’re apathetic or lack that killer instinct or are mentally weak or lazy. We’re sadists. We enjoy inflicting pain upon others, and while a 30-point blow-out might be crushing, nothing is as devastating as believing you may have a chance to beat the Lakers only to see them snatch it away at the last minute. Imagine how giddy the players and fans of a team like the Thunder must get at the thought of stealing a win against the team with the best record in the NBA? It’s a natural reaction – as natural as the “beat L.A.” chant that inevitably follows – so we let them indulge in it for a god while, until the zen-master decides to put them out of their misery and close the deal. Or until the game is over, whichever comes first. That’s gotta be it, right?
I’m sure you can tell from all that how this game went. It was pretty comfortable for the first two and a half quarters. Then the Thunder mounted a run, Kobe went to the bench, and we floundered for an extended period, letting them come all the way back to within one. Phil doggedly refused to bring Kobe back in until the 9:17 mark of the fourth quarter, and that was all she wrote. Kobe had been content to probe and take what the defense was giving him through the first three, but in the fourth he did as he pleased. He scored 15 points in those last nine minutes on some ridiculous contested jumpers, free throws, and a couple drives. He also assisted on a couple other baskets that helped put the game away.
So that makes it 2-0 on this rather brief road trip. We return home for Thursday’s game against Phoenix, but then we have the second of a back-to-back in Denver against the Nuggets before heading to Arizona to take on the Suns again. That’s three straight games against playoff-bound opposition after some decidedly average performances against mediocre teams. We usually play better against the tougher teams, but it’s a rough few days with travel and all, so we’ll have to wait and see. In any case, you know Kobe will be up for the two against Shaq and eager to give his former teammate a taste of his own ass. That is often enough to get us the win. I just hope we can get Pau’s minutes under 40 for one or two of those. He played 42 again tonight, and it stands to reason that he can’t keep that pace up forever. Come on, Lakers. Go ahead and sign Robert Horry or Mikki Moore. Anybody who can stand in there for a few minutes while Pau gets a breather. We need the newly fortified Gasol for the coming playoff run. Let’s keep him fresh for when we need him most.