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Win Streak Hits 11, Kobe's Finger Banged

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Lakerdom's lingua franca added a new medical term tonight: "avulsion fracture." That's what befell the precious right index finger of Kobe Bryant in the second quarter of a 104-92 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. It happened while he was defending Ryan Gomes near the sideline, and it sent him to the halftime locker room early. He returned, with a splint courtesy of trainer Gary Vitti, to play about 18 minutes in the second half, looking more or less OK, but he admitted after the game that it felt "pretty painful." Please commence your candlelight vigils.

The Lakers' effort level was up and down tonight. After opening up an 11-point lead early in the quarter, they let point guard Ramon Sessions engineer a comeback that made it a two-point game at half. L.A. allowed Minnesota to score 1.10 points per possession over the first two quarters, which is just absurd. The Wolves average 0.97 PPP on the season. On the road against a team with the Lakers' length, they shouldn't even sniff the 1.00 mark.

In the third quarter, the Lake Show locked everything down. They forced the Timberwolves to do what they do best - turn the rock over to the other team - and built up an 18-point margin. A key contribution was made by Laker double agent Minnesota head coach Kurt Rambis, who sat Sessions for the first 10 minutes of the third. Sessions was 6-for-6 in the first half, so it was nice of Rambis to cool him off.

There wasn't a lot of flow in the Laker offense tonight. It was one of their worst shooting performances in a while. Pau Gasol, though, put in an evening of solid work: 17 points, seven assists and a career-high 20 boards. Ron Artest was quietly productive (16 points, five assists and three steals), and backcourt reserves Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown and Sasha Vujacic chipped in 22. Onward to Utah.

Before we go, however, a heartfelt plea to Stu Lantz, wherever he may be: come back soon. I AM BEGGING. Hot Rod Hundley filled in tonight, and I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say his performance was the most tragic event in American history. About 80% of the game he spent mumbling impenetrably. Dude, seriously... you need to speak up and enunciate. You sound like an 80-year-old Boomhauer up past his bedtime. The remaining 20% of the game, we realized how nice things were when we couldn't understand what Hot Rod was saying.

I need my Stu back. I swear, I'm never writing a bad word about him again.

 

Poss.

TO%

FTA/
FGA

FT%

EFG%

TS%

Off Reb%

Def Reb%

PPP

Minny

96

18

0.18

75

45

48

32

71

0.96

L.A.

96

15

0.14

77

49

52

29

68

1.08