When a team is in a rut, sometimes it takes something special for them to dig themselves out. When that rut is a horrific injury spell that has left 5 of the teams' seven best guards on the bench and a six game losing streak to some of the league's worst teams, that something special might need to be all the more miraculous. Well, fear not, Lakers fans, Kendall Marshall is on the scene.
Kendall Marshall is the Los Angeles Lakers' 4th string point guard. Teams don't normally have a 4th string point guard, or a 4th string anything (There are 15 roster spots and 5 positions on the team. Do the math). Marshall is the Lakers' 6th option at the position, because Kobe Bryant and (apparently) Xavier Henry can also play the role when needed. Except, they can't right now because, along with Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake and Steve Nash, they too are out injured. So what did this 4th string, 6th option point guard do when all the other options were gone? Played 40 minutes, scored 20 points, dished out 15 dimes with only one turnover, and pulled down six boards. He shot 8-12 from the field (including a 30 footer to beat the shot clock late in the 4th quarter), 15 dimes. He played, statistically, one of the best games a Laker point guard has played in a decade. He's the 6th option.
There's your miracle. There's your victory.
Pau Gasol also played fantastically (23, 17 and 8), Wes Johnson looked great for the first time in a month and the Lakers had just enough of the energy that made them such an entertaining team to watch through the first 20 games of the season to ride out the game. That, and the Utah Jazz are really, really bad at basketball. They closed late, primarily because Gordan Hayword found his outside shot, but this was a game between two of the worst teams in the NBA, and it showed. For that reason, tonight's victory will probably end up doing the Lakers more harm than good, but it's hard to be mad when your formerly D-league point guard is hitting 30 footers with the game on the line.
Enjoy the night, Kendall. Enjoy the night, Lakers fans. That's what basketball is all about.