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Lakers 93, 76ers 81: Less Fun to Watch Than the Yogi Bear Movie

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I want my money back. No, I didn't pay to see the Lakers and 76ers in person - do I look stupid? - but to catch it on the televisual appliance in my living room, I took time out from what I usually do on Friday afternoons, which is go around stealing unemployment checks from my neighbors' mailboxes. The Lake Show failed to reward my brave sacrifice with a game that was even vaguely watchable, so the way I see it, they owe me some cashishe. To make the accounting easy, I'll just go ahead and take the eight million or so they saved from the Sasha Vujacic deal.

Technically the Lakers "won" tonight by the the score of 93 to 81, but if you watched, you know the truth: there were no winners here. Only victims and perps. The Sixers were atrocious for four quarters, the Lakers for only three. After 36 minutes of the worst basketball ever played this side of the Rio Grande, the champs woke up long enough to make a few shots and escape from Philly with a 20-7 record. I'll try to find a highlight reel to embed later in this post, but YouTube's policies expressly prohibit videos of "pornography, obscenity or excessive length," and even a 10-second clip from tonight's game would violate all three of those prohibitions, so don't get your hopes up.

The Sixers failed to score on their first nine possessions of the game. And then they failed to score on the first nine possessions of the second quarter. You'd think that would've allowed the Lakers to open up a dominating lead, but tonight the normal rules of physics, basketball and human decency didn't apply. For most of the night, the champs matched their hosts brick for rim-rattling brick. Actually, only the most accurate attempts rattled the rims. Both sides hoisted plenty of shots that rose and fell back to earth in smooth, uninterrupted parabola. These are what I believe scientists refer to as "air balls."

The Lakers shot a cool 6 for 18 in the first period, which ended with the Sixers up three. Starting guards Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Jrue Holiday and Jodie Meeks combined to miss 12 of their 13 attempts. And lest you think this was a function of in-your-shirt perimeter defense, please allow me to dissuade you of that notion. Oh no. Nononononono. Everyone had plenty of open looks. Shots were challenged only a little more than they are when they bring someone out of the stands at halftime to shoot buckets for a free round-trip ticket on Southwest. Also the Lakers committed six turnovers in the first quarter, which was fun.

At one point in the opening period, Kobe injured his right pinkie finger trying to receive a pass from Pau Gasol. It looked a little painful, and he had Gary Vitti tape it up and then untape it. He'd end up playing 36 minutes but missed eight of his 11 field-goal attempts. After the game an X-ray showed it to be merely a strain. ("Merely"? Easy for me to say.) Here's hoping it doesn't impede his shooting stroke, as an injury to the same hand did for parts of last season.

If I try recapping in detail what happened in the middle quarters, I'll end up booking an appointment with Dr. Kevorkian before I get to the end of this paragraph, so suffice it to say that both sides were putrid with a capital pewt. In the second period the Sixers shot 38% and committed five turnovers. In the third the Lakers shot 32% and committed four TO's. You know when it's said that teams are "trading baskets"? This was the opposite of that. The only excitement - and hoo boy, was it exciting - came when Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson showed up in the arena to the enormous delight of the locals. According to our man Mike Trudell, Vick and DeSean apparently got their tickets from Matt Barnes, who I imagine now owes them a huge apology.

Barnes, in his defense, was one of the few guys to play well tonight. He and Lamar Odom keyed a big run in the fourth to put the game away and spare us the unimaginable horror of overtime. Matt finished (and who doesn't love a matte finish?) with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Lamar with 28 and eight.

I hate to be the one to break this to you - seriously, please don't kill the messenger - but the Lakers and Sixers have to play each other again. Soon. On New Year's Eve, in fact. I can't think of a more festive way to ring in 2011.

 

Poss.

TO%

FTA/
FGA

FT%

3FGA/FGA

2PT%

3PT%

EFG

TS%

OReb Rate

DReb Rate

PPP

L.A.

92

13

0.35

86

0.19

47

20

44

51

26

71

1.01

Philly

93

12

0.16

86

0.24

45

14

39

43

29

74

0.87 

P.S. - Congrats to sexy commenter stlcar18 for correctly answering tonight's trivia question. The question was: what do Sam Cassell, Ruben Patterson, Andre Miller, Allen Iverson, Shannon Brown, Drew Gooden and Mo Williams have in common? The answer is that all have been included in trades that involved the newest Laker, Joe Smith.

P.P.S. - If you'd like to educate yourself and your family about the dangers involved in seeing the Yogi Bear movie, please take a moment to download and read Neil Hamburger's and Tim Heidecker's excellent pamphlet on this topic, available here.

Follow Dex on Twitter @dexterfishmore.