The Los Angeles Lakers had the odds stacked against them going into Denver to play the Nuggets who have only lost in their arena 3 times in 26 games. Making matters worse for the Lakers, they came in on the 2nd night of a back to back. The Denver Nuggets got up early, extending their lead as many as 18 points. The Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night, 119-108.
The Lakers had no answer for the Denver Nuggets defensively. The Nuggets shot 56% from the field and scored an astonishing 78 points in the paint. The Nuggets’ high point total in the paint was due, in part, to the 33 fast break points, also an eye catching figure.
Kobe Bryant once again led the Lakers in scoring with 29 points and dished out 8 assists. Dwight Howard scored 14 points and pulled down 14 rebounds but was horrid from the free throw line, missing 11 of his 14 shots from the line. Steve Nash chipped in 16 points on an efficient 6 of 8 shooting.
Nicolas Batum brought the Portland Trailblazers to within 2 points after hitting a shot in the corner with 10.7 seconds remaining in the game; however, it wasn’t enough as the Los Angeles Lakers were able to hold and win 111-107, in a closely contested game.
There was a more familiar Kobe Bryant Friday night, scoring a game high 40 points in the game. This was Kobe’s first time scoring 30 or more points since the January 15th game against the Milwaukee Bucks when he scored 31 points. It was the first time he scored 40 or more points in a game since the day after Christmas, when he scored 40 in a loss at the Denver Nuggets. This was Kobe’s 117th 40 point game in his career.
The Lakers win extends their lead over the Blazers to 1 game and 1/2 for the 9th spot, and keeps them 3 and 1/2 games behind the 8th place Houston Rockets who won Friday night as well in Brooklyn, 106-96.
Dwight Howard has also beginning to resemble the player that we saw in Orlando since his return from the All Star Break. Dwight Howard scored 19 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the win against the Blazers. This is coming of his 24 points and 12 rebounds game in the win against the Boston Celtics Wednesday night.
The Lakers next game is Sunday in Dallas to face the Mavericks.
The Los Angeles Lakers received good news just prior to the start of their game versus the Boston Celtics, that Dwight Howard would be in the line up for the first time since missing the last 3 games. That was the last bit of good news for the Lakers on Thursday night. In front of a nationally televised audience, the Celtics absolutely torched the basketball nets at the TD Garden last night and what was left in the aftermath was a 116-95 drubbing of the Lakers.
The Celtics shot 52.9% from the field and 45.5% from 3s; luckily for the Lakers the Celtics only took 11 shots from distance. The Boston Celtics took control of the game in the 2nd quarter where they extended their 4 point lead at the end of the 1st to a 14 point lead to end the 1st half. The Celtics dominated the rest of the way, extending their lead to as many as 32 points.
Seth Wenig, AP
The odds were against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night in Brooklyn. Coming in they were already short handed being without an injured Dwight Howard and suspended Metta World Peace. The Lakers fought through their misfortunes and put forth one of their best efforts of the season on the defensive end. The Lakers rotations were quick and decisive all night, especially Earl Clark who seemed to contest every shot taken by the Brooklyn Nets. Not even the injury to Pau Gasol’s foot that occurred in the 4th quarter slowed down the Lakers on this night as they went on beat the Brooklyn Nets, 92-83.
The Los Angeles Lakers came in riding a 3 game winning streak that was fueled by a sudden change in game plans where ball movement and balanced scoring were key. Early in Wednesday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns that same game plan was being followed and working well. The Lakers lead by as many as 13 points in the game, but it all fell apart in the 4th quarter where the Suns outscored the Lakers 29 to 13 and went on to win 92-86 over the Lakers.
Michael Beasley came off the bench for the Suns and scored a season high 27 points and led the team in scoring.
It might be early, but the Los Angeles Lakers might have found the game plan to get themselves out of their year long funk. The Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets last night, 111-106 for their 3rd consecutive win. The Lakers current winning streak coincides with the ball movement and unselfishness that the players have exhibited in the last 3 games.
The Lakers had 34 assist last night on 39 made baskets. This follows nights of 26 assists against the Utah Jazz on Friday and 29 assists versus the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. To put these numbers in perspective, on the year, the Lakers rank 15th in the league with an average of 22 assist per game. The San Antonio Spurs lead the league in assists per game with 25 per game.
It might be too soon to say that a trend has developed, but what the Lakers have been doing the last two games seems to be working. The Lakers upset the #1 team in the NBA Sunday afternoon, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 105-96.
Kobe Bryant had his 2nd consecutive game of dishing out 14 assist. Kobe nearly reached a triple double in the game, scoring 21 points and 9 rebounds to add to his assist total. The Lakers shared the ball the beautifully, combining for 29 assist on 41 made baskets. The Lakers shot an efficient 55% from the field.
After the team meeting that occurred prior to the Memphis Grizzlies game on Wednesday, there was talk from the Los Angeles Lakers that their quarrels with shots and roles in the in the offense were behind them. There was also talk from players that there was going to be a renewed focus on defense, energy and winning going forward. For about 6 minutes into the game it seemed like the Lakers were following through on their earlier promises; it didn’t last long as the Lakers were thoroughly out worked and blown out by the Grizzlies the rest of the way.
That wasn’t the case Friday Night as the Lakers were able to sustain the energy and team play from start to finish. The Lakers beat the Utah Jazz easily, 102-84. The Lakers end their 4 game losing streak.
Kobe Bryant played his best all around game of the season and was looking to get players involved early. Kobe scored 14 points and handed out a season high 14 assist. Kobe was 1 rebounds short of a triple double, ending with 9 boards.
Dwight Howard didn’t show any lasting effects of his shoulder injury that he re-aggravated in the Memphis game. Dwight ended the game with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
The Lakers have a much tougher match up on Sunday when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center.
- Fern Rea
What started out as a night where we might finally see a Los Angeles Lakers team that was on the same page and worked in unison on both ends of the floor quickly turned in to the same display of poor offensive and defensive execution that has been displayed all season. The Lakers lose to the Memphis Grizzlies 106-93 which marks their 4th straight loss and 7th straight on the road. To make matters worse, Dwight Howard re-aggravates his shoulder injury and had to leave the game for good in the 2nd quarter.
Prior to the Lakers game against Memphis there was a report of a players meeting where the team got to air out a lot of their frustrations and quarrels. Going by the Lakers comments regarding the players meeting prior to the game it seemed as if there was going to be a renewed commitment to the defensive end of the floor and giving maximum effort. Dwight Howard had stated that he was going to focus on the defensive end of the court and not worry about how many shots he was getting in the offense which was something he complained about to select reporters after the Chicago loss where he only took 5 shots.
The Los Angeles Lakers finally put forth a better defensive effort, holding the Chicago Bulls to 95 points and 42% shooting; however, the Lakers problems on Monday night was on the offensive end where nobody could get it going. The Lakers were able to muster just 83 points on the night.
The game was tied after 3 quarters, but the game got away from the Lakers in the 4th where they were outscored 26 to 14.
Kobe Bryant shooting woes continued against the Bulls, shooting 7 for 22 from the field and ending with just 16 points, 13 points below his season average. Bryant is coming off 2 straight poor shooting games: shooting 10 for 32 against Toronto yesterday and 8 for 25 against the Miami Heat this past Thursday.