The Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers are worthy foils. Neither team appears to be very good, but they sure do know how to entertain. Of course, one of these bad teams is built as a one season throw away roster so that the reset button can be firmly and easily pressed at season's end, and the other just had their chance to shape their fortunes for the next few years and now are locked in for a long time to a roster that doesn't appear particularly well thought out, but hey, who are we to judge. I'm glad the Pistons exist exactly as they do, and not just because they are bad enough that the Lakers ended up running away from them to an easy victory. Last night was just plain fun.
Jordan Effing Hill - Another start, another insane performance. Hill just keeps getting better and better as a member of the starting lineup, and last night, he played easily the best game of his life. How can I say that with such certainty? Well, when you set a career high for both points and rebounds, you had yourself a fine evening. Hill's 24 points and 17 boards were perfect, and he even showed a level of acrobatics on a first quarter finish that was straight Mambian. For the moment, he's pushed Chris Kaman so far into the periphery that Kaman is finding minutes as hard to find as Hill did earlier in the season. I like Kaman, too, but this is better.
Everybody - Space is too limited to get a paragraph on everybody, but this was a great game for a lot of Lakers. Jodie Meeks continues to knock our socks off with 19 points on 11 shots, Nick Young apparently needed to come off the bench to go full Swaggy, scoring 19 points on 13 shots, Steve Blake was quiet in the scoring department but had 16 assists, Pau Gasol nearly had a triple double, Wes Johnson shot 6-8 from the field for 13 points and Jordan Farmar had a major bounce-back game in the 2nd half, keying the Lakers fourth quarter run that put the game away. Nearly everybody on the team shot 50%, or was damn close, on the night.
Lob City - A couple years back, upon learning that Chris Paul would be a Clipper, Blake Griffin immediately dubbed the Clippers lob city, but the title doesn't really fit. The true lob city is not limited to just the home team. The true lob city wants lobs from everybody, from every angle, at all times. It turns out Blake Griffin had the right city when he made his proclamation, even if his team wasn't involved. Last night's game had the best set of lobs I think I've ever seen in a competitive contest. The highlight of the night came from Detroit, where Brandon Jennings threw an ape-shit pass that somehow found its marker anyway:
Not to be outdone, the Lakers responded with a few lobs of their own, including this touch-pass lob beauty:
All in all, both teams were throwing lobs like this was a diving contest, and degree of difficulty were a part of the scoring. It was a fun night.
Chris Kaman - The Cave Mamba did not have his finest game, logging just 2 points and one rebound. Of course, the stats aren't really his fault, because he only played five minutes on the evening, clearing the way for Jordan Hill's monster night. You have to wonder about this, because Kaman was ostensibly the Lakers premier signing in the off-season, but you can't argue with the way the Lakers were playing last night while Kaman was on the pine. So we'll just take this opportunity to point out for the umpteenth time that the Kaman signing was excellent in a vacuum, but did not make a lot of sense in reality, because the Lakers already have great depth at his position.
Shawne Williams - He wasn't terrible, he even made two threes, but when you are one of two players on the entire team who missed the vast majority of your shots, and you throw in a couple of turnovers in limited minutes to boot, that'll end you up on this list whether you deserve it or not. Burden demands nightly sacrifices, and Williams lands here by virtue of a small pool of contestants.
Instant Replay - In the first half, there was something like eleventy million (ok, it was probably two) instant replay reviews for really stupid reasons, wasting quite a bit of our time on a Sunday evening. The NBA's instant replay is already horribly broken, and its more invasive to the game than pretty much any other sport I can think of. Last night was just another example in the long line of failures for NBA replay.