Kobe Bryant led the way with 26 points and 7 assists. Andrew Bynum finished the game with 20 points and 14 rebounds, and ultimately gave the Lakers the cushion they needed in the last 30 seconds of the ball game, when he hit a hook shot over Kevin Garnett (with the assist coming from Bryant).
Pau Gasol had a solid double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Metta World Peace seems to be emerging as the old Ron Artest, as he scored 14 points and made timely plays on defense.
Sunday’s game was a microcosm of how good the Lakers can be as they jumped out to an early 15-point lead at the beginning of the second quarter. They then squandered the lead, and turned a game in which they should have controlled for most of three quarters, into a photo finish type of contest.
The difference between playing at home and on the road for the Lakeshow seems to be their “inner resolve.” At the Staples Center, their inner resolve always seems to shine through, whereas on the road, you can find that same inner resolve in a self-induced coma, as they have the biggest disparity of home records (18-2) versus road records (7-14) in the NBA. To fully regain championship form, they must find a way to correct this issue, as they head down the back stretch of the regular season.
The Lakeshow finished last week with a 2-2 record, thanks to victories over the Minnesota Timberwolves (their 18-straight against them) and the Celtics to end the week. They must not forget the two horrible losses at the beginning of the week to the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, as they start this week out like last week, on the road against the Memphis Grizzles and the New Orleans Hornets.
Will that inner resolve finally wake up from it’s coma on the road for the Lakers, or will history repeat itself yet again for the Lakeshow? Bottom line, The Masked Mamba & Co. must get it done on the road sooner, rather than later.
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Written by Arthur Kai