The Los Angeles Lakers lost Kobe Bryant due to an injury to his left knee that he suffered against the Memphis Grizzlies. Many started to think and talk about the Lakers having to tank now. They have no point guards and Bryant is expected to miss six weeks.
It did not matter against the Minnesota Timberwolves because the Lakers played an impressive game to come out on top 104-91. The Lakers lost their first meeting with the Timberwolves back when Nash only played 13 minutes before sitting out the game due to back issues. Even though the Lakers have been hit with big injuries they managed to move on and show that they can still be entertaining and stay competitive.
Pau Gasol had a big game with 21 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists, even hitting a big three in the fourth quarter to push the Lakers lead. Both Jodie Meeks and Xavier Henry also hit double digits in the starting lineup. Meeks hit some difficult shots in the game to give him 17 points while Xavier Henry started at point guard and finished with 21 points and 4 assists. Off the bench, Nicky Young provided some great energy and offense with 25 points to lead his team in scoring, and hitting a total of four three-pointers. It was a great team effort and it was the second game in a row with Pau having a great offensive game after struggling a few games ago.
The Lakers did sign a new point guard in Kendall Marshall, a former Phoenix Sun lottery pick, but he did not play in the game. Chris Kaman, who had fallen out of the rotation played 16 minutes and finished with six points. The team will be on the road again and will face the Golden State Warriors tomorrow, in a game that can put them back over the .500 mark.
Last Friday the Lakers played the New Orleans Pelicans and lost with an 11-game winning streak being snapped. Anthony Davis dominated in that game scoring 32 points and 12 rebounds. On their second meeting of the season the Lakers got their revenge beating the Pelicans 116-92.
The Lakers had control the whole game and looked nothing like the team the Pelicans saw in their first meeting. Anthony Davis was in early foul trouble and finished the game with just 15 points and 5 rebounds. Mike D’Antoni went to a new starting line-up with Steve Nash expected to be out for at least two weeks due to nerve root irritation. Jodie Meeks starting at shooting guard with Steve Blake getting moved to point guard. Jordan Hill started the game for the first time this season and did not disappoint. Hill led the team scoring his career high 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Jodie Meeks had a good game as well with 15 points and Pau Gasol added 14 points. Off the bench Xavier Henry had 15 points and had a highlight dunk over his former Kansas teammate Jeff Withey. Nick Young did well off the bench doing most of his work in the first half finishing the night off with 17 points. In total five players for the Lakers finished with double digits while the Pelicans only had three.
From the start the Lakers came out strong and did not take their foot off the gas pedal. The Lakers will play again tomorrow on back to back games against the Denver Nuggets. It is safe to say that D’Antoni will go with the same starting line-up again tomorrow with the way the team played tonight.
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers returned home tonight to host the Minnesota Timberwolves after losing the New Orleans Pelicans in the last game of their three game road trip. Pau Gasol has been struggling and needed to have a good game to help the Lakers continue their winning streak against Minnesota which is at 22 straight wins. Unfortunately the Lakers could not make it 23 wins falling 113-90.
The Lakers came out with very little energy and Gasol did not have a good game. The Spain native did look good in the first quarter being aggressive and scoring with his hook shot a few times but he slowly disappeared the rest of the game. Gasol finished the game with 11 points and seven rebounds.
The Wolves came out on fire shooting the ball very well being led by Kevin Love and Kevin Martin. Kevin Love finished the game 25 points while Martin led all scorers with 27 points. All five starters for the Wolves ended the game in double digits while only two of the Lakers starters were able to do the same.
Steve Blake led the Lakers with 19 points and shot well from the three. Blake also did well passing the ball ending with a total of eight assists. Jodie Meeks came off the bench with 16 points but other than those two there were not too many good things for the Lakers in this game. On defense the Lakers were sluggish and could not get back in time and did a bad job protecting the three with Minnesota hitting 10-20. Turnovers were also an issue for the Lakers turning the ball over 21 times.
Steve Nash started the game but left early with back problems. The Lakers will play at home again on Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans. It will be interesting to see if Nash will be okay to play but judging by the issues he has been facing it might not be such a bad idea to give him a little more rest to heal his back and hamstring injuries.
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers played Dwight Howard and his new team for the first time since he left the team in free agency and it ended in Hollywood fashion. The Lakers beat the Houston Rockets 99-98 off a big shot by Steve Blake with one second remaining.
The Lakers had a great first half leading by 14 points and shot 11 of 14 from the three but they could not keep it consistent in the second half. Rockets slowly brought the game closer and closer until it was finally a game for the Rockets to win. Turnovers became a big issue for the Lakers having a total of 24 tonight. James Harden led the Rockets with 35 points while Howard scored 15 but could not score free throws that could have put the game away for his team when the Mike D’Antoni chose to go with “hack-a-howard.”
Pau Gasol had a horrible game shooting 1 for 10 ending the night with only two points. Jodie Meeks led the Lakers in scoring with 18 points and was 5 for 7 from the three point line. Wesley Johnson had his best game as a Lakers with 16 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks. A total of six Laker players ended the game in double digits. The play of the night went to Blake who hit the game winning shot over his former teammate Howard. Blake finished the night with 14 points and 2 assists.
The Lakers will play another game tomorrow night against the New Orleans Pelicans in what will be a tough match up with a team full of young and athletic players. The Lakers will be without Steve Nash who will be resting on back to back games this year. With a big win tonight it will be interesting to see if the Lakers will carry over the energy into tomorrow’s game or if they are left without energy on back to back games.