Well the 4th attempt to take down a team that posed as an eminent threat to the two-time defending champs was unsuccessful yet again, as the Los Angeles Lakers were on the losing side of a tough home loss to their most hated rival, the Boston Celtics 109-96.
The “Big 3″ for Boston came up big as The Truth (Paul Pierce) led the way with 32 points, while KG had a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds. Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen) scored 21 points, and put in a couple of three-point daggers that put this game out of reach late in the 4th quarter, as the C’s dominated the second half of this ball game. Shaquille O’Neal made yet another appearance to the Staples Center as a visitor, once again, but statistically was not a factor. However, his presence was instrumental in slowing down the Lakers’ front-court.
The Mamba led the Lakeshow attack with a 41-point performance, but received little help from his teammates. L.O. scored 15 points and had 5 rebounds off the bench, and was the only other bright spot for the Lakers. What was disheartening to Laker nation, was how The Spaniard (Pau Gasol) and Andrew Bynum were outplayed by the Celtics’ big men for most of the ball game. Bynum didn’t get enough touches with only six shot attempts, and Gasol couldn’t seem to make the most of his attempts (5-13 from the field), as the lack of defense and execution on offense caught up with the Lakers in the 4th quarter.
The Lakers have lost two games on the road to the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs (two Western Conference powers), while losing two home games to the Miami Heat and now the Celtics (two Eastern Conference powers). Dr. Phil is not overly concerned with the outcome of these ball games, obviously because these are not the playoffs. He knows there is room for improvement, and believes his team will come through when it matters most.
The Mamba, on the other hand, although he echoes his coach’s sentiments about the state of the team, the irritation within his body language during his post-game interview after the game was highly visible, and his short responses to the typical annoying questions posed by members of the media, made it clear that he’s more than irked when his team comes up short in these type of ball games. Not to the mention the team’s play in the trap game against the Sacramento Kings this past Friday, in which they were at one time, down by 20 points and eventually lost 100-95, the Lakers appear not be as fluid as we are accustomed to seeing them at this point of the season, compared to the past three years.
It was a bitter-sweet ending to the weekend, as the The Mamba reached another milestone in the game against the Kings, passing Hakeem Olajuwon as the 8th leading scorer of all-time in NBA history. By the end of the season, The Mamba and Co. expect to reach several more milestones, none more important than hoisting that Pat O’Brien Trophy.
The Lakers begin the week facing the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, and then comes another big test against the Spurs on Thursday (their 2nd meeting of the season), which will be nationally televised. They end the week with a Saturday game against the New Orleans Hornets, which will be the first of a seven game road trip. Can the Lakeshow find that championship swagger before the all-star break or will they consistently remain inconsistent until the playoffs begin? This should be interesting!
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Written by Arthur Kai