Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lakers hit the reset button and win 2-straight

Entering Sunday's game against the worst team in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Lakers were on a 6-game losing streak and fans were on a 36-game hope-losing streak for a playoff bound season. In fact, "Is the Lakers season lost?" was making headlines.

Fast forward to tonight and the Lakers have managed to win 2-straight. They beat the struggling Cav's by 20, with the final score being 113-19 and tonight they take the Bucks by the horns (and by 16), 104-88. These two games taken quite convincingly by a combined 36-points, something fans have been expecting with a roster like the Lakers'.

It's as if the Lakers have hit the reset button coming near the midway mark of the season. Something has clearly changed in the offense but more importantly in the defensive end. With Gasol being sidelined by another questionable injury, and Hill gone for the season, other teammates have had to fill the void left behind in the front court.

Earl Clark has been the x-factor and with his newly acquired fan given nick name of Clark Knight (unofficial), he's found his niche in the ever rotating lineup. Since Gasol's concussion, Clark has averaged roughly 29-minutes in 5-games. These are precious minutes he's determined not to waste and has proven so by averaging 11-pts and 10-rebs.

2-Game Winning Streak Factors

The Lakers offense has seen its share of Kobe touches (league leading 828 FGA) with minimal ball movement but as of late the team, specifically Kobe has shown signs of peripheral basketball. In result the Lakers have tallied in 62 assists. Yes, Kobe will still get his touches but fans are now starting to see him look for the open man. On occasion he's snuck in a pass or two from his shooting motion for an easy Howard deuce. Plays like those builds team morale and gets other teammates actively involved rather than their usual spectator mode or hasty shots due to late shot clocks.

Defensively the Lakers have been spot on, keeping opponents to low point production and limiting star player involvement. Howard is a big reason for the defensive turnaround. He's had a combined 5 blocks, 53 points, and 30 rebounds. He and Kobe have become the primary contributors to these victories but this is certainly not to discount the contribution of other teammates like Jamison who is finally seeing minutes. He's scored a total 26-pts off the bench.

All in all, the Lakers are showing signs of how they should've started the season. The next test is of course the upcoming Thursday game against the reigning champs. A victory over the 24-12 Miami Heat will prove that these recent wins over mediocre teams is no fluke.


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