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Saturday, December 22, 2012
Warriors are no match to Kobe's lower jaw-jutting grimace
Clippers have won 12-straight. I lead with that because a healthy Lakers team can do just the same. Tonight they look to win their 4th consecutive game opposite a young Golden State Warriors team who've only lost three at home.
It won't come easy (they usually don't). The Warriors are young and typically youth equals speed, which results to full court transition offense faster than Kobe's wailing arms to ref no-calls. Lakers have struggled against quick teams all year long, hence their 14 losses. Nash made his return after being gone for 24 games from a stubborn bruised left shin. his impact was the game difference and refreshing to watch as he brought back organization and fundamental basketball to the floor. A lot of pick and roll action which led to open jump shots and inside feeds to the big men for easy dunks. His vision to spot the open man is...well everyone knows how good it is. He ended the night with a team high 9 assists. Nash also shot the ball well. His points came sparingly but all 12 were critically needed. On the other hand Kobe had a season high 41 FGA. This ugly stat will luckily be overlooked by a Lakers 4th consecutive win. Kobe was clutch, especially in the closing seconds. His lower jaw-jutting grimace even made an appearance. Let's not mention quarters 1-3 since the Lakers seem to kick it in high gear only in the 4th. Lakers were down by 13 to start the game's final 12-minutes. This quarter had a million lead changes. As the game progressed so did the Lakers as a team. They managed to score collectively and for the first time in a while they played as a complete unit. The final minutes did at times resort to Kobe offense which was frustrating to watch but thankfully Kobe delivered. He ended with 34 points (16-41 FG) and a quiet 10 rebounds.
Metta played great tonight. His clutch deep ball was huge (3-6 3P). His last two games coming off the bench has given the Lakers instant depth. He's averaging 19-pts as the 6th man.
Dwight got in early foul trouble so his stats in tonight's box score won't look impressive but his defense, free throws (3-4), and presence late in the game was key.
Hill get's playing time (Jamison has yet to play since Gasol's return) and makes the most of his 20 minutes. He contributed with 14-pts and 8-rebs. Laker fans know that when Hill is in the game, defense and hustle is gained.
Key stat of the night - L.A. had 56 points in the paintvs. Golden State's 38.
Lakers pull yet another victory late in the game but I honestly can't remember when they've won convincingly. They need to remind the league who the Lakers are by doing so. Hey, it's a 4-game winning streak, and we'll definitely take it!