The Los Angeles Lakers have broken a reservoir of frustration, and with the water gushing through the fissure, all the Detroit Pistons could do was drown. Right out of the gates the Lakers were playing with a purpose that had yet to be seen. As stressful as the 0-3 start and win-less preseason has been, this game was nothing but positive vibes from tip-off to the final buzzer ring. Yes, the Lakers have won a game. They will not go 0-82. Final score tonight, 108-79, Lakers.
Even with the disappointing news that Steve Nash will be missing closer to a month as he recovers from a non-displaced fracture of his fibula, there's plenty of joy to be had for the Lakers and the fans tonight. Dwight Howard was active, effective, and the dominant force everyone expected him to be on both ends of the floor. in 32 minutes of play Howard scored 28 points (12-14), 7 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots. More importantly though, this was the healthiest he has looked since debuting for the Lakers. His huge alley-oop dunk from the Darius Morris lob will serve as the exclamation point of a night where Dwight Howard finally looked like Dwight FREAKIN' Howard.
Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant continued his efficient start to the season, filling up the stat sheet with 15 points (5-10 shooting with 3-5 from deep), 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. Having lost Steve Nash as a facilitator on the floor it was refreshing to see Kobe Bryant take up to the task of creating for the talent around him after only 4 assists combined in the first three games.
And hey, round of applause for Steve Blake. He played a solid game against the Los Angeles Clippers, and played an even better game tonight. 6 points, 6 assists, 5 steals, and 5 rebounds? Can't ask for much more from the much maligned Laker. The purple and gold will need this kind of effort from Blake in the absence of Nash.
It wasn't all peachy though, as the Lakers bench continues to be an ugly smudge mark in every effort. While the game was never in much jeopardy, they still managed to give Mike Brown enough reason to bring Kobe, Dwight, and Pau back into the game to finish the job to the dismay of many. Considering the injury issues that have been rampant through the roster, it would have been nice to see the reserves sandbag minutes from the third through the remainder of the game, but that's another argument for another time.
For now, let's just enjoy this win. Against the Pistons, sure. I don't even care, it could have been against the Kentucky Wildcats. It has been far too long since I've been able to walk away from a Lakers game with a smile. These are the kinds of games that build momentum and confidence, two things that the Lakers haven't found in the other three games of the season. Full recap in the morning.
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