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Kings Make Lakers Look Good, Hair Makes Them Look Bad Again

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The only thing I was really hoping to write in regard to tonight's Lakers game, a 106 to 100 mercy-killing of the Sacramento Kings, is that no one got hurt. Was that really too much to ask? Yep, apparently so. Jordan Farmar left the game in the second quarter with a strained left hamstring. It was initially reported that he wouldn't play tomorrow night against the Clippers, but we're now hearing that he will.

Why risk it? The Lakers will desperately need his three-point shooting in the playoffs, not to mention the defensive help he'd provide against Russell Westbrook. Let Jordan heal fully. In the meantime, his minutes can be soaked up by the likes of Shannon Brown and Sasha Vujacic.

Both of those guys, along with their fellow second-unit cohorts, looked great tonight. Shannon scored 24 on 10-of-19 shooting, making better-than-usual decisions with the ball. He made a point of driving to the basket, walked into open threes and generally (though not completely) avoided those 20-foot jumpers off the dribble. Sasha, for his part, flitted about the court in joyously Sashariffic fashion. He poured in 13 efficient points and somehow grabbed four offensive rebounds. After the game, Phil Jackson called him "an offensive rebounding machine."

At the risk of stealing some of Sasha's Rodmanesque thunder, I should point out that nobody did much boxing out on the defensive glass tonight. Nobody did much of anything defensively. This was a low-intensity contest between teams with little reason to fret over the outcome. Technically the win keeps alive the possibility that the Lakers can catch Orlando for the NBA's second-best record, but as I mentioned this morning, that's not really in play, as the Magic need only swat away the 76ers tomorrow night.

Which makes it all the more baffling that Phil gave the Lakers' front-line players so much court time in this one. Lamar Odom played 35 minutes. Pau Gasol played 32, about a dozen more than he should have. I think we can all agree that Pau's in an excellent groove right now - he continued his run of strong play tonight with 28 points, eight boards and three assists - so you don't want to cool him off by totally sitting him down. But every minute he's on the court, the Lakers risk a season-killing injury. Let's be a bit more cautious tomorrow, Phil.

Back to the bench's performance. Luke Walton got 24 minutes and made nice use of them, his play a salutary reminder of how his presence (in full health) greases the Triangle's gears. D.J. Mbenga, like Ron Artest sporting an unfortunate mustard dye-job, worked the offensive glass for seven points and five boards. Even Adam Morrison made a three in what's surely one of his final games as a Laker. All good stuff, though we probably shouldn't get too used to what we saw from these guys. The Kings were a bad defensive team back when they were trying. Tonight was a classic late season mail-in.

Artest, by the way, remains stuck in his ill-timed shooting slump. He shot 1-for-7 and has made only seven of 26 three-point attempts in April. Here's hoping he sees a few drop through the net against the Clips.

 

Poss.

TO%

FTA/
FGA

FT%

3FGA/FGA

2PT%

3PT%

EFG

TS%

OReb Rate

DReb Rate

PPP

Sacto

92

13

0.16

64

0.18

51

31

51

52

38

64

1.09

L.A.

93

17

0.25

81

0.24

54

35

53

57

36

62

1.14

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