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Kobe-less Lakers Take Down Hornets, Showdown With Spurs Next

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<em>Is this how bad it looks from outside the court? Damn.</em>
Is this how bad it looks from outside the court? Damn.

The Los Angeles Lakers played a terrible game of basketball last night, and yet somehow managed to pull together a decent run down the stretch and steal the win from the Hornets. How close was this game, you ask? Dexter Fishmore supplies us with some stats:

The Lakers had 83 possessions tonight, the Hornets 82. Points per trip: Lakers - 1.12, Hornets - 1.11

The Lakers stole this in the fourth quarter with clutch shots from Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace and Ramon Sessions. In fact, Ramon Sessions had his first game-winner in the Purple & Gold (H/T SoCalGal). The win was all but cemented until Metta World Peace stunned us all.

With 1.2 seconds left in the game, he stands ready to inbound the ball on the Hornets' side of the court, only to throw the rock back across the floor toward Matt Barnes who was standing near the Lakers bench. The pass was slow and low to the ground, and had Jason Smith been just a little faster, he might have gotten that ball and sent the game to OT. Here is video of the last play, and this is what MWP had to say regarding the last sequence:

I’m a math major. Jason (Smith) was not getting that ball. 1.3 seconds. I’m a math major. It’s an easy calculation. Matt (Barnes) was going to get the ball no matter what.

Coach Mike Brown commented on the win and on Steve Blake's performance:

I thought that our composure was there, which was fun to watch our guys have (tonight). Throughout the course of the game, I thought we made big play after big play. I thought, having our composure, (that) the tempo was there. Having (the Hornets) at 91 points is more our speed or more in our favor when it gets there.

I thought that his aggressive play on both sides of the floor (was great). I thought that he was aggressive offensively. I thought that he was aggressive defensively. He came up with some big shots down the stretch, too. I thought that his aggressive play was a factor (tonight).

Travel day and light practice, I assume, today for the Lakers. The showdown with the well-rested San Antonio Spurs is tomorrow night. Gulp.