Los Angeles Lakers: Kendrick Perkinds

Why the Lakers' "lack of intensity" is overblown

February, 1, 2010
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
Brian and I typically recap a game by finding its "moment," whether a play, series of possessions, or even a quarter defining the outcome for the Lakers. Yesterday's win over Boston felt naturally defined by one moment in particular, the game-winning fade-away by Kobe Bryant with Ray Allen in his grill.

Not necessarily a unique moment for Lakers, as demonstrated by half a season alone, but a moment nonetheless.

Michael Dwyer/AP Photo
They may not burn with "24/7 intensity," but the Lakers can match another team's outer-fire, if needed.

But Mamba's shot wasn't the only moment I felt defined the win for the Lakers. The first quarter was actually a series of moments providing the other bookend to complement Bryant's game-winner, moments where Boston continually ratcheted up their "intensity," but didn't remember to include smart play as part of the equation.

You had Paul Pierce getting chippy with Ron Artest before the opening jump ball, quickly followed by a reach foul as Ron Ron attempted to drive.

You had Kendrick Perkins barely lasting six minutes before having to sit with two fouls, both away from the ball, the first while denying Andrew Bynum position before an inbound pass, a dead ball foul resulting in two freebies for the center shooting 75% this season. (Think two cheap points don't matter in a contest decided by just one? Think again.)

You had Kevin Garnett, whose scouting report features the phrase "never shuts the %$^# up," running his yap the length of the court after hitting a jumper over a solid challenge from Andrew Bynum. Drew promptly returned the favor by dunking on the former DPOY. Point-counterpoint, Sir Talk-A-Lot.

That sequence came on the heels of Rasheed Wallace jamming a shoulder into Pau Gasol (who just hit a lefty hook over KG), then hooking Pau's arm after El Spaniard's reactive push made clear he wasn't having it. Before the two were hit with double T's, Sheed shoved again, then got in Pau's face. Nothing really came from the altercation, including much production from Wallace, whose four assists were offset by just three points. It wasn't a truly dominant game for Gasol, but with eleven points and eleven boards he clearly outplayed the cat looking to intimidate.

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Nick Young
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0