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Staples Reconquered from Heathen Barbarians

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Well, that was fun. Nine days after falling to the Clippers in one of their worst performances of the year, the Lakers rang up one of their best, leveling their municipal rivals 126 to 86. The counter-revolutionary offensive was thorough and punishing. Kobe Bryant looked better than he has in weeks, scoring 30 points on 64% True Shooting. Pau Gasol returned to action and looked like his old self. Even the Taco Unit joined the party, grinding their boot into the Clippers' necks long after the outcome was decided.

We shouldn't get carried away over two games, but judging from tonight and the Wednesday night win over Dallas, the Lakers might be evolving into the force we've wanted them to be. They're certainly getting healthier. Everyone looked fit tonight. Kobe moved and shot the ball much more smoothly than he had in Texas. For once, there weren't any Lakers heading to the locker room mid-game to get massaged or taped up.

Andrew Bynum put to rest, for the time being at least, concerns that he'd slip back into a funk with Pau at his side. The team fed him in the post right out of the gate, and he delivered with 10 first-quarter points. Gasol had six in the first as Kobe waited for the big men to eat before bellying up to the buffet himself. A Clipper run to begin the second put the Lakers behind for a moment, but Kobe and Drew got the offense humming again shortly. The Lakers led by three at half, 53-50.

In the third quarter, they unleashed fury. It began with a 12-1 run powered by crisp, intelligent ball movement. The D dug in and jumped passing lanes. With 4:39 to play in the period, Kobe hit a three that extended the lead to 17 and removed what little suspense remained. Baron Davis, kept more or less in check all game, drew a flagrant one when he threw a ‘bow at Derek Fisher and Gasol. That was exciting.

Really, there was nothing not to like about this game. My plea for more turnovers was answered generously: the Lakers forced the Clips to turn the rock over on a full fifth of their possessions. The Lake Show offense was extraordinarily efficient, hearkening back to last year and the year before. And the bench, so often lambasted for failing to maintain garbage-time leads, not only maintained this one but extended it.

Gold stars for everyone.

The Purple and Gold are now 31-9 and lead Cleveland by a game and a half. Next up are the Orlando Magic on Monday night at Staples. If the Lakers are indeed hitting their stride, they've picked a good time to do it.

 

Poss.

TO%

FTA/
FGA

FT%

3FGA/FGA

2PT%

3PT%

EFG

TS%

OReb Rate

DReb Rate

PPP

Clips

97

20

0.32

76

0.26

46

25

44

49

20

77

0.89

Lakers

95

7

0.50

83

0.27

52

46

56

63

23

80

1.33