Lakers and Kings Get Much Needed Road Wins
Tuesday night saw two Los Angeles teams desperately needing wins getting them.
It sounds strange to say that the Lakers were desperate for the win since they have gone 2-1 on this Grammy road trip entering play tonight. But coughing up leads in those three games and being four games under .500 makes every game crucial for the Lakers. This was especially true in Brooklyn tonight with tricky games in Boston, Charlotte (yes, Charlotte) and Miami set to close out the road trip.
It was bad enough that Dwight Howard was still out with a bum shoulder, but earlier on Tuesday the NBA suspended Metta World Peace one game for his punch on the Pistons Brandon Knight on Sunday.
That's why the Lakers 92-83 win over the Nets was that much more compelling.
Sure the Nets nabbed 20 offensive rebounds and Brook Lopez scored a game-high 30 points. But the entire game can be encapsulated by this play by Kobe Bryant:
This came just after Pau Gasol came down awkwardly on his right foot, straining what the Lakers said what his plantar fasciitis. Gasol will have an MRI tomorrow in Boston to see whether he tore his plantar fascia. The ugly part was Gasol leaving the Barclays Center on crutches. Ouch.
The game was tied at 78-78 when Gasol left. What was left of the Lakers pulled away to a five-point lead before the foul game was played.
These last seven games have seen the Lakers resemble the team that was anticipated coming out of the gate in October with or without Howard. It will be interesting to see if Howard is magically available to play against the Celtics on Thursday before the national TNT audience. If so, there isn't too much to worry for the Lakers. But if both big men are out for the Lakers for extended periods of time, things could get a lot more difficult.
As a complete aside, if Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley had his way the Lakers and the Nets would not have played at the Barclays Center tonight. Instead the Dodgers would have had a closed roofed stadium on that exact spot and would have stayed in Brooklyn rather than move to Los Angeles in 1957.
But 55 years after Robert Moses told O'Malley to take a hike, the Nets built an arena on that spot at Flatbush and Atlantic. It was just something that was in the back of my mind while watching the game.
As for the Kings, they were heading to nowhere fast after giving up seven goals in Anaheim. As a matter of contrast, the Kings gave up eight goals to the New Jersey Devils in the six games of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Things didn't appear to be any different for the Kings in Columbus. Yet again they had a lazy defensive first period that culminated when on a haphazard line change Derek Mackenzie notched his first goal of the season for the Blue Jackets.
But the Kings got it together in the second period, Anze Kopitar speeding down the middle 32 seconds into the period to tie the game.
The big moment of the game came later in the second when Brandon Dubinsky smashed Rob Scuderi's head into the boards, eerily reminiscent of Steve Bernier's hit on Scuderi in Game 6 of the Finals. Mike Richards stood up for his teammate, Dubinsky was thrown out of the game.
The Kings won the game 4-2 getting only their second win in regulation and third overall this season. With eight points they are starting to inch their way back to respectability. Barely.
It doesn't get any easier for the Kings with road games at Nashville, Detroit and St. Louis to round out the Grammy road trip. But we'll let them enjoy this one.
By the way, it was interesting to note the Columbus had enough hockey fans to make their booing of Jeff Carter audible over television. Carter was traded from Columbus, a place he didn't like, to Los Angeles before the trade deadline last season.
And to follow up on the paragraph I wrote yesterday, Rob Gronkowski decided not to disappoint me. As Deadspin pointed out, Gronkowski landed in Las Vegas on Super Bowl Sunday to boogie down. TMZ has the video proof below:
The Gronk has the public persona as a stupid party animal who is just a harmless thing. But just on looks and assumption there seems to be something a little more sinister just beneath the surface which is magnetic and alluring. A bit of depth beyond the superficial artifice we are allowed to see.
So when the Gronk decides to take his dudebro friend down with a DDT despite playing with a broken arm, the heart beats a little faster and the eyes pop out for a brief second during that most homoerotic exchange.