There are a few NBA teams who don't have a single player over 7 feet tall. Most teams have one, but that's it. Why? Because the Lakers are hoarders. The Lakers have 3 7 footers, and that makes them the tallest team in the league by virtue of a stat I just made up. For last night's match-up with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Lakers were without Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. That brought their league leading 7 footer quota down to just 2, DJ Mbenga, and Kobe Bryant, who grew 6 inches for last night's game. How else could he have scored 41 points (mainly from the post) without even having to try hard?
Seriously though, last night's game, and last night in general, went about as perfectly as is possible for a fan of the purple and gold. Let's take a look at all of it shall we?.
- If you were wondering what it would look like if Kobe Bryant played at your high school, that was about as close as you will see. Poor O.J. Mayo was left to defend Kobe one v one, and it didn't go very well. Kobe took Mayo down to the block, and told him to stand in one spot so that Kobe could test a large array of post moves, including fade aways to either corner, spin moves to either side, resulting in dunks, up and under moves. Everything in Kobe's and the Dream's arsenal was on full display last night. And Mayo may still be rooted to that spot as we speak, because he sure as hell wasn't moving with Kobe on defense. 41 points on 32 posesssions for the Mamba, in 34 easy minutes. That's NOIIIIIICE.
- Ron Artest is looking better and better in a Lakers uniform by the game. His defense has been strong throughout, and for the 3rd straight game his offense carried the Lakers at times. 19 points on 50% shooting, including 60% shooting from 3 pt range. Plus he provided the comedy on the night, following a missed dunk right under the basket with a reverse dunk on the next possession. See, he's still got ups
- If you read our pre-game analysis, Dexter presented a fairly simple equation for why you should be troubled by this game. Memphis league leading offensive rebounding + Lakers league worst defensive rebounding + 2 missing 7 footers = concern. So of course, it was the Lakers who got offensive rebounds all night long, en route to 40% Off Reb, and a 12 board advantage overall.
- The Lakers won a game by double digits for the first time this season. After throwing away big leads twice so far, the bench finally banded together to have a positive influence on the game. Led by Josh Powell's strong shooting, the Lakers bench scored 35 points on it's way to an average night of + 5 off the bench
- Derek Fisher dusted off his jumpshot, and found that it had not been eaten by moths, as was previously reported. 4-7, 1-2 from long range.
- Andrew Bynum found a creative way to avoid having to play the team that owns his voodoo doll. Bynum has been injured badly against Memphis each of the last two seasons, and he is clearly not tempting fate with a 3rd
- Gasol found a creative way to avoid having to make his brother feel bad. For the record, Pau, take a lesson from Andrew on this one. You don't have to miss the 10 games before this one just to make the injury look real. Next time just get the flu or something.
- Outside of Staples, the Celtics and the Nuggets both lost, bringing the grand total of undefeated NBA teams to zero. The only teams ahead of L.A. in the standings are there only by virtue of having played more games than the Lakers.