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It’s not always pretty, but Lakers pick up third straight win

Jan 30, 2013, 2:31 AM EDT


There were stretches in this game where we finally started to see the Lakers we expected to see when this team was put together… well, not exactly what we expected to see because nobody thought Kobe Bryant the facilitator and Steve Nash working off the ball was what would work best. But it does. Kobe had 11 assists (a career best 39 over three games) and it has become contagious. The Lakers ball movement — and movement off the ball — was beautiful basketball. It torched the Hornets defense for long stretches.

Then there were stretches we saw the disappointing Lakers from much of this season. Like blowing an 18-point fourth quarter lead and having to scramble at the end to earn a 111-106 win at home over New Orleans.

Ugly or pretty, they’ll take it. The Lakers need wins and that is three in a row as they head out on the road for seven straight games. Keep playing like this on the road and then we can start to talk playoffs. But not yet.

The ugliest stretch of the game is why the Hornets had to play catch-up in the first place — Monty Williams did a hockey-change and brought in five guys off the bench and they proceeded to 15 consecutive shots. Ryan Anderson missed threes, Jason Smith missed jumpers, Austin Rivers was Austin Rivers. The Lakers rattled off 17 straight points and the Lakers had a lead they would never surrender.

The Lakers offense was impressive — quick ball movement, Pau Gasol making touch passes, Howard rolling toward the rim, Kobe passing out of doubles quickly. To use the Mike D’Antoni phrase, the ball had energy and when it does it finds the open man. That was Earl Clark at times as he had 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting (4-of-5 from three). That was Dwight Howard rolling to the rim and he had 24 points on 13 shots.

All those pretty passes had the Lakers up 98-80 in the fourth, but the Hornets went on 16-2 run — it started against the Lakers bench but when Kobe, Nash and Howard came back in they couldn’t stem the tide. Anthony Davis had three dunks in the run (he is going to be fantastic, he cuts off the ball like a veteran). It was a 4-point game with three minutes to go and got as low as one later.

But Clark got away with camping in the lane and eventually scored an up-and-under at the basket. Then there was a Steve Nash three. And it was a smart play by Antawn Jamison driving out of the corner and hitting a swooping shot in the paint to seal the win.

The Lakers offense was beautiful but had some dry spells. Their defense was spotty but good enough against the Hornets. It’s a win. The Lakers need wins.

But by the time this seven game road trip is over, we will know a lot more about this Lakers team. And we’ll know if they have a shot at the postseason.

  1. jerdogthompson - Jan 30, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    So they have to go 28-9 the remainder of the year to have a realistic shot at a 8 seed? Or basically win at a 73% clip? Wow! Possible, I guess. Plausible doubtful. Likely, not a snowball chance in HE double hockey sticks.

    I’ve said it since December, when does the headline read “Lakers mathematically eliminated from playoffs”? I give it 16 games from tonight.


    • nbascreed - Jan 30, 2013 at 6:00 AM

      Do you know how math works? They’re not competing against a historical average dude? If you brought this nonsensical analysis and hypotheses into a client you would be summarily dismissed for any lack of critical thinking. The Lakers are 3 games out of 8 and 4 games out of 7 with 37 games to go…HARDLY IMPLAUSIBLE by probabilistic standards ESPECIALLY when you consider that the difference b/t the 12th place team (Wolves 4 spots out) and the 7th place team (Jazz 21 losses) is 3 GAMES. 3 GAMES! And the Wolves have been terrible over the last 3 weeks. That means it is incredibly likely that the historical average of 46 games in the West (or whatever it is) is TOO HIGH this year and with all of these teams having to still compete against EACH OTHER it is VERY LIKELY that a .500 record or gasp even sub .500 gets you in the door. A little critical thinking and a little less schadenfreude may be warranted. MARK THIS POST homie…it’s math.

      • Kurt Helin - Jan 30, 2013 at 5:59 PM

        Again, the 8 seed Rockets are currently on a 44 win pace (I think they can finish higher, but let’s go with that number). To get to 45 and beat them, the Lakers need to go 25-13 the rest of the way. The three games are good but I need to see a longer stretch of good play before I buy in.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 30, 2013 at 6:58 AM

      this posst is marked as, you pooped your big boy pants!

    • loungefly74 - Jan 30, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      you do realize the are 4 games out of the 8th spot? i look at it that way…

      you are also assuming other teams will play at the current clip as well. you are not factoring how other teams can falter down the stretch. basically, i think its more realistic to say they have to play at a .620 level to have a good chance at the 8th spot (23-14). i’m not saying the Lakers are a lock, heck, no way near…but i wouldn’t say the situation is as dire as you claim. and this is all speculation/theory.

      • Kurt Helin - Jan 30, 2013 at 5:56 PM

        Falter? The Rockets are playing at a 44 win place and I think they and Portland could play a little better. They are not coming back to you, the Lakers aren’t getting in with 41 wins. And if the Lakers need to get to 45 wins to get into the playoffs, that’s 25-13 the rest of the way. They’ve looked good on offense for three games and played good defense in two of them. Talk to me when this road trip is over, if the Lakers go 5-2 I’ll start to say they could make it.

      • loungefly74 - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:02 PM

        Kurt…injuries happen (ask the Celtics). that is one way to falter.

    • spthegr8 - Jan 30, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      You could be right and if I had too bet $ on it, I probably wouldn’t bet on us. We need too show some sort of CONSISTENCY before I totally buy in.

      I will give the Clippers credit. They are the BEST team in L.A. this year PERIOD!!!! Still not a QUESTION on who run’s L.A. though. Just Saying!! Unfortunately for you guy’s. While you guy’s are the best team in the city, you don’t have a “snowballs chance in HE double hockey stick’s” of beating the Thunder in a 7 game series. So even though you can claim best in L.A., WE are still the only team that bring’s CHAMPIONSHIP’S 2 L.A.!!! That’s not me hating either, just keppin it real!!

    • stadix093 - Jan 30, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      Just curious, where did you get 28-9 from? All they have to do is win 3-5 more games than the teams ahead of them and those teams aren’t that great.

  2. eventhorizon04 - Jan 30, 2013 at 3:20 AM

    Agreed with Kurt that flow of the game was very inconsistent – there would be periods of Laker dominance followed by huge Hornets’ rallies. Unmentioned in the writeup above was the return of Steve Blake. Now, Blake isn’t a great point guard by any stretch of the imagination, but what Blake did tonight was give D’Antoni an excuse to not play Chris Duhon, which is a good thing for the Lakers.

    Blake had 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 4 assists in 13 minutes, which is unremarkable, but the Lakers’ +/- was +12 with him on the floor, and he made good decisions with the ball (just 1 turnover). The bench unit combined for 38 points, which turned out to be key in a close game.

    The Lakers need to go at least 5-2 in their upcoming 7-game road trip to make up ground given that all but 2 games will be against sub-0.500 teams. This roadtrip will establish whether the Lakers really have taken a step forward as a unit.

  3. 00maltliquor - Jan 30, 2013 at 3:30 AM

    This was a beautiful game by the Lakers. They assisited on sooo many of their buckets and Mamba facilitating like this the last 3 games is amazing. If he can keep up this re-invented Mamba things will be fine. Funny how Nash is being used though as a shooter, but he can shoot so it’s cool. Earl Clark is a blessing in a Jordan-Hill-injury disguise. Pau off the bench with 7-7-7 in 21 min. was nice too. I know he’s Pau freakin’ Gasol and makes a ton of dough, but I’m really starting to like him coming off the bench.

    I just wish Hill was still around. Hey, Steve Blake’s 1st game back and he managed not to piss me off and looked inspired on defense. Still put up Steve Flake #’s but didn’t make me go absolutly insane while he was in there for the 12-13 min. he played so that’s a plus. I walk away very impressed with tonights game dispite the fact that the Pelicans came within one down the stretch. At least they showed some nuts and fended them off. I’m happy.

  4. divan22 - Jan 30, 2013 at 4:05 AM

    I ripped Kobe to shreds about a week ago for his selfishness, so it’s only fair that I give him his due for his unselfishness. 39 assists in the past 3 games, the most in any 3-game stretch of his career.

    Good to see him finally commit to playing team ball on a team stacked with talent. Took him long enough to figure it out… we shall see how long Bizarro Kobe sticks around for.

  5. limonadamas - Jan 30, 2013 at 4:44 AM

    4 threes for Earl Clark??? CLARKSANITY!!! hahaha

    • badintent - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      All Hail the new Messiah, Earl Clark

      Coach Mike Brown approved this message

      In other news , Clarks’s agent tells Kupchack he wants a max deal for Earl or they walk to the Heat

  6. whodeytn - Jan 30, 2013 at 6:43 AM



  7. stoutfiles - Jan 30, 2013 at 7:09 AM

    Until the Lakers are mathematically eliminated, they will continue to get all the coverage. Each win will be treated like a playoff win.

  8. ultichiva - Jan 30, 2013 at 8:21 AM

    You think Kobe gonna miss PLAY-0ffs?

  9. omniusprime - Jan 30, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Another nice win but the Lakers have to win on the road and I’m still looking for 7 more wins to complete a ten game winning streak. It’s about time that we see proper ball and player movement on the court by the Lakers, they just have to play team basketball and they’ll win.

    I still think it is way stupid for Dumbtoni to start Clark instead of Gasol. Despite Earl’s good numbers he’s still no Pearl. He is a welcome spark from the bench and that’s where he should play from.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!!

    • eerock41 - Jan 30, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      looking more and more like he will get fired. they go away from his style of play and they win. I dont think it is his fault, but it is clear that this team is not built to play his style.

  10. qwertify - Jan 30, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    You think Stern is gonna let the Fakers miss the playoffs? I don’t think so. It’s too good of an opportunity to miss. It would make the perfect story, and would also make millions, if not billions from revenues. “In what seemed like a lost season, Fakers now ready for finals showdown with cHeat.” and “The Finals 2013: Clash of the Superstars / Egotists”

    Now watch the Fakers rack up the wins. sad

    • paleihe - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      Why do you watch basketball, read blogs, and waste your time commenting on the blogs if you think everything is predetermined?

      • chitownmatt - Jan 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        We can be a fan and enjoy watching basketball reading blogs and such, and yet still be intelligent enough to recognize the fact that the league can and does apply pressure to refs and trade negotiations to massage results and outcomes.

  11. teambringitstrong - Jan 30, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    All the haters of the Lakers success to this point. I guess the green eye is alive and well. No wonder your lives are so despicable.

    • savvybynature - Jan 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      Wait, you are calling what the Lakers have done up to this point success?!!?
      You do know it’s wins and losses that determines who makes the playoffs, not volume of media coverage, right?

  12. chitownmatt - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    The number of PBT articles about specific teams must be proportional to that team’s current standings and relevance to the overall NBA playoff picture.

    PS: To the person who will undoubtedly respond, “…then why did you read it?”
    I DIDN’T!!!

    • eventhorizon04 - Jan 30, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      Doesn’t matter if you didn’t read it.

      You clicked on the article and commented on it, thus increasing site traffic and comment volume.

      So long as people keep clicking on Lakers’ articles and commenting on them, they’re going to keep writing them, because they get paid based on site traffic.

    • loungefly74 - Jan 30, 2013 at 2:09 PM

      rules for chitownmatt:

      – understand the rules for supply and demand
      – take a course on economics, philosophy, psychology…heck just go to college and you should understand the reasoning/tactics behind posting articles…oh, if you did go to college…well, not sure what to say other than you didn’t learn or went to a crappy school.
      -life isn’t fair…(sorry…the fact is the Bulls are boring right now…)

    • chitownmatt - Jan 30, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      Wow, you guys really know how to take the fun right out of a joke.

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