Sunday, December 27, 2009
Lakers 112, Kings 103: Land O' Lakers takes credit for the win
Before yesterday's game against the Sacramento Kings, I said the Lakers had a chance to demonstrate an ability to roll with the punches after looking absolutely punchless the previous day against Cleveland. Besides theoretically rebounding from a loss, they'd be competing on the second end of a back-to-back, without an oddly-sidelined Ron Artest, and facing a Sacto team that does well at Arco. I guess my message hit home with the Lakers, because they decided to see my "three elements working against them," then raise me a "make it happen in OT," and then re-raised it to a "double OT." From there, Kobe Bryant went all in with an "I'll barely be able to feel my upper right arm during much of the second half because of an in-game elbow injury."
L.A.'s muted start without Gasol and its 15-2 record since Gasol returned from a hamstring injury have been handy reminders that it was Pau's arrival in February 2008 that triggered the Lakers' return to glory and reconfigured the league's landscape. He's simply the perfect complement to Kobe -- thoroughly content to be a No. 2 but sufficiently long, mobile and skilled to supply down-low commodities Kobe can't -- and seems to be getting better with age like Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash. One example: Gasol is suddenly averaging 12.2 rebounds per game after eight seasons during which he never topped 9.8 boards.