Posts tagged line
For the first 24 minutes of Friday night’s game in Utah, it seemed like the Lakers were destined to give back the game they gained from Thursday’s nights hard-fought victory against Dallas.
But these Lakers are just playing at a whole other level. The champs rallied from 17 points down, overwhelming the undermanned Utah Jazz in the second half, and scored a 96-85 at EnergySolutions Arena, their ninth straight win, and 17th in the last 18 games.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 21 points and Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol each had 16. Gasol also added a team-high nine rebounds in the win.
Utah jumped on the Lakers early, led 26-13 in the first quarter, and then put together an 11-0 run in the second quarter to build a 41-24 lead. But that’s when the tide began to shift. Los Angeles fought back with an 18-7 run to close the half, and trailed just 48-42 at the break.
The second half was all Lakers, as Derek Fisher’s three-pointer finally got the Lakers even at 62 with just over four minutes left in the third quarter. Moments later they took the lead for good when Kyrylo Fesenko was called for goaltending on a Shannon Brown shot. The Lakers led 71-64 after three.
The lead stretched to 83-65 early in the fourth, and the Lakers held off the Jazz the rest of the way for what turned out to be a fairly easy victory. Los Angeles outscored Utah 52-35 in the second half.
Utah played without three of their key players, as Andrei Kirilenko, Devin Harris, and Raja Bell all missed the game with injuries. The Lakers played without Matt Barnes, who was suspended by the NBA for his role in Thursday night’s melee with Dallas.
C.J. Miles, who had been in a shooting slump, scored 13 points in the first half for the Jazz, and finished with a game-high 24. Al Jefferson added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Paul Milsap chipped in with 16 points.
The Lakers shot just 39.4% from the field in the first half, but finished the game at 47.9% (34-71). They also held the Jazz to 41.5% (34-82) from the floor, and 2-10 (20.0%) from the three-point line. The Jazz did outrebound the Lakers 44-39, including 15-6 on the offensive end, but held a much bigger advantage (28-18) at the end of the first half.
The win, combined with San Antonio’s sixth straight loss at Houston on Friday, brought the Lakers to within 1.5 games for first place in the Western Conference, with seven remaining. The Lakers’ current 17-1 record is the highest post-All-Star break winning percentage (.944) in league history. The Jazz are second, going 31-4 (.885) after the All-Star break back in 1997.
The loss eliminated Utah from the Western Conference playoff race, marking the first time a team started 15-5 and 27-13 and didn’t make the playoffs.
The Lakers now return home for a Sunday afternoon battle at Staples Center against the new-look Denver Nuggets, who have been playing very well since trading their superstar forward Carmelo Anthony last month. The two teams have split their two meetings this year, with the Lakers winning the last game 107-97 in Denver back on January 21.
Link: Lakers @ Jazz Box Score
The Lakers frustrated Blake Griffin, frustrated the Clippers, then watched it all come apart in the fourth quarter, and saw their 7-game winning streak go with it in a 99-92 loss to the Clippers at Staples Center on Sunday.
Kobe Bryant had 27 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, and took the game over in the third quarter as the Lakers built a 12-point lead at 67-55. But after that run, it was all downhill for the champs, as the Clippers started making shots, and Griffin got physical inside.
In a tight game, the Lakers led 45-44 at halftime, with Griffin scoring just two points, as Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom made life hard on the Clippers’ star rookie. After the Lakers led by double-digits late in the third quarter, the Clippers came alive led by the scoring of Eric Gordon and Griffin.
After a three-pointer by Ron Artest put the Lakers up 82-78 in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Clippers used a decisive 16-3 run to put the game away. Then tempers got a little testy. Griffin pushed Lamar Odom in the back going for a rebound with five seconds left, to which Odom was not too happy in a game that was clearly over.
The two got tangled up and went into a war of words with some pushing. Artest and Baron Davis ran in and tried to be peacemakers in the altercation. No punches were thrown, but all four players were ejected, with Artest’s ejection seeming quite ridiculous.
Andrew Bynum had 18 points and 13 rebonds for the Lakers, and Pau Gasol added 13 points and eight boards, but had a very tough time with the physical Griffin in the second half, and eventually fouled out of a forgettable ending for the Lakers.
Griffin, after a terrible first half, finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds, but shot just 7-20 from the floor. His string of 14-straight games with over 20 points was also snapped. Gordon had a game-high 30 points, hitting 13-20 from the field and 4-7 from beyond the arc. Davis was the only other Clipper in double-figures with 14 points.
The Lakers shot miserably from the field, at 41.3% (31-75), and an even worse 3-20 (15.0%) from the three-point line. They did get to the foul line 33 times, hitting 27, which helped offset the poor shooting from the floor. The also lost the rebound battle 50-45.
The Clippers didn’t shoot much better at 43.7% (38-87) from the field, but they hit 9-21 (42.9%) from long range and had 15 offensive rebounds.
The loss dropped the Lakers to 30-12 on the season, and 14-7 on the road.
The Lakers’ next game is Monday against Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center. The Thunder come in with the third-best record in the Western Conference and have won four straight. It will be the team’s first meeting since the Lakers beat the Oklahoma City 4-2 in a memorable first round match-up in last year’s playoffs.
The Lakers got tough on Sunday night, and played a very physical brand of basketball against the upstart New York Knicks, winning going away 109-87 at Staples Center.
Kobe Bryant scored 27 points to go along with 10 rebounds, as the Lakers held the high-scoring Knicks to just 87 points on 36.0% shooting from the floor.
The Lakers big front line pushed the Knicks around all game long, and dominated on the boards 61-42, including 17 offensive rebounds. The game also had its share of chippiness, as the Lakers were assessed four technical fouls and a flagrant foul.
Andrew Bynum scored 18 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in a strong effort against Amare Stoudemire, but was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter with two technical fouls for arguing a call against him. It was a game loaded with emotion and hard fouls.
Ron Artest was hit with a technical early in the first quarter as it appeared he put his hands near the throat of the Knicks’ Shawne Williams. He then picked up a flagrant foul for dropping Stoudemire with a clothesline on his way to the basket in the third quarter. Bryant and Stoudemire also got into a heated argument moments later.
The Lakers led virtually the entire game, although the Knicks kept it close early, thanks to a lot of early Laker turnovers. A late second quarter push gave the champs a 52-47 lead at halftime.
After the break, the game got rougher, and the Knicks simply could not make shots. The Lakers led by double-figures for most of the second half. The Knicks got to within seven early in the fourth quarter on a three-point play by Stoudmire, but could get no closer, as the Lakers won going away by 22.
Pau Gasol also had a dominant game up front, scoring 20 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, and blocking four shots. Shannon Brown had 16 off the bench, and Lamar Odom scored 13 points and a pulled down a season-high 18 rebounds.
For the game, the Lakers didn’t shoot particularly well themselves at only 41.8% (38-91), although they did hit 8-17 from the three-point line, and turned the ball over only 13 times. After a sloppy start where they turned the ball over five times in the first five minutes, they committed just eight the remainder of the game. Taking care of the ball didn’t allow the Knicks to get into the transition game they desperately needed to in order to beat the bigger Laker squad.
The Knicks were led by Amar’e Stoudemire’s 23 points, 10 rebounds, and six blocked shots. Stoudemire shot just 7-24 from the floor, and didn’t hit his first basket until the middle of the second quarter. In fact he scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half, but many were after the game was out of reach.
The Lakers played their first game without backup forward Matt Barnes, who is scheduled to have surgery this week to repair a torn meniscus he suffered on Friday against New Orleans. The Lakers won’t have a timetable for his return after the surgery.
The Lakers have now won four straight, six out of seven, and haven’t lost to the Knicks since February of 2007.
Los Angeles’ next game is Tuesday night at home against the woefully bad Cleveland Cavaliers, who have certainly suffered without LeBron James. They’ve currently lost 10 in a row after their setback on Sunday in Phoenix, and are sitting with NBA’s worst record at 8-29.