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Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Lakers beat Wizards: The reactions

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images
Shannon Brown pleases President Obama, who wished him luck in the dunk contest.

Just a year into his presidency, Barack Obama has yet to fix everything wrong in our country. I don't think mine is a particularly partisan claim, or even particularly critical, as the man's plate has enough piled on it to leave Kobayashi with a full tummy. Still, the ability to bring about large-scale, permanent change remains somewhat unproven.

But give the Prez this much. Last Monday, he played host to a Lakers squad whose current road trip had featured a pair of losses against a contender and a pretender, and a win that didn't swing in the Lakers' favor until the fourth quarter. They've been so largely unimpressive, Steve Mason crashed our PodKast to tee off on how poorly they've played. A little time with Obama, however, and the purple and gold are suddenly inspired to kick off the cobwebs, as ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin reports:

Perhaps the Lakers should consider putting Obama on the payroll as a consultant of sorts, because for the first time in a little while, the Lakers more or less "resembled themselves." Granted, the Washington Wizards are a fairly low hurdle to leap, but the point of a game like last night's isn't necessarily "proving yourself," but rather doing what you're supposed to do. Like inspire the following headline from the Washington Post's Michael Lee:

"Lakers exploit talent disparity."

Or, as Bullets Forever put it in slightly more verbose, but still succinct terms:

Nick Wass/AP Photo
Lamar Odom was this aggressive from minute one.

Whether you're talking "on paper," a game of NBA 2K10, or the parameters of good old fashioned "real life," assuming neither team is afforded weaponry, Washington's crew is undoubtedly outmatched if the Lakers play reasonably well, much less at their best. As Brian noted during his postgame wrap, The Lakers demonstrated this truth to the letter. After a first quarter allowing Washington to remain competitive through turnovers (four in all, worth nine D.C. points), the follow up frame featured the Lakers (specifically Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown) firing on all cylinders and creating a 16 point gap. From there, the doors may not have been blown off the hinges, but the Lakers certainly played well enough to forge a 115-103 win while conserving energy for a back-to-back against the Pacers. The defense was sturdy enough, mistakes (first quarter aside) were minimal and Silver Screen and Roll enjoyed seeing a steady, efficient offense worked to near perfection:

And by the way, should Magic Johnson ever set up shop in the Oval Office, sounds like he might match Obama's credentials when it comes to getting a honored team on the right track. As the Times' Mike Bresnahan notes, Earvin had a few choice words for the defending champs as well:

But still nothing really compares to meeting the nation's leader, as Jordan Farmar shared in a blog entry describing his trip to the White House and the clinic they held for 30 area kids in conjunction with the President's United We Serve initiative and City Year Washington, DC:

Unfortunately for Ron Artest, a short illness meant learning about Presidential inspiration second hand, as opposed to the face to face meeting that would have made him the envy of his kids. But on the plus side, his feets are healing up a bit.

-With the two year anniversary of Pau Gasol's arrival closing in, The OC Register's Kevin Ding is reminded that El Spaniard is no "El O".
-Could Devin Brown's arrival in Chicago pave the way to Kirk Hinrich joining the Lakers? I'm guessing no, but hey, there's a month remaining for speculation.


-Amar'e to the Spurs?
-Unless you're willing to fleece yourself, don't bother calling David Kahn about Al Jefferson.
-Ray Allen's name is hot around trade season, and he doesn't mind.
-Will Houston make moves with the T-Mac chip?
-Gilbert Arenas and David Stern are meeting.
-J.R.Smith says he'll exhibit better body language from now on. No word about posture.
-Tyson Chandler could be nearing a return.