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LAst Night's Action: Lakers Almost Bit by Wolves
LA Lakers defeat Minnesota Timberwolves 99-94. Being given the day off on Monday after their 25-point demolition of the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday night, the Lakers looked like they were still taking a day off as they played the Timberwolves.
Kevin Love got a double-double in the first half alone when the Lakers needed an 8-2 run by Kobe Bryant to get a 58-52 lead. He ended up scoring 23 points and grabbing a career-high 24 rebounds that helped the Wolves stay no more than 11 points behind the Lakers.
But for being the youngest team in the NBA with no center, it’s hard to overcome a 33-point outburst from Bryant, a double-double 18 point, 10 rebound performance by Pau Gasol and coughing the ball up 27 times.
That’s not to say that the Lakers didn’t try to give away the game. Their 18 turnovers wasn’t a thing of beauty. Neither was Ron Artest and Lamar Odom straddling the line with foul troubles.
But the champs being the champs got it done, and they also got the crowd their tacos. The Lakers now take their 8-0 record to Denver who just got 54 points scored on them in the third quarter in Indiana. Oof.
New Orleans Hornets defeat LA Clippers 101-82. People have been scratching their heads wondering how the Hornets are undefeated. One word: defense. It’s the reason Peja Stojakovic is not dressed even though he’s completely healthy.
After the Clippers opened the game with a Chris Kaman bucket - their only lead of the game - the Hornets held the Clippers without a field goal until 6:37 left in the first quarter. Kaman would leave with over four minutes to go in the first quarter after suffering a second-degree ankle sprain after stepping on Chris Paul’s foot.
But the Clippers have shown their resiliency hanging around the game thanks to rookie Al-Farouq Aminu’s 20 points that led all scorers. After trailing by as many as 15 in that opening quarter, the Clippers went to a zone defense that allowed them to trim the deficit three points with 1:23 left in the half. But the Clippers couldn’t close out the half on a positive note allowing Paul’s three-pointer to give them a 48-41 halftime deficit.
The Hornets came out of the locker room with an 11-2 run, but the Clippers kept hanging around trailing by three near the end of the third quarter. Yet again, the Clippers’ closing quarters became an issue with Jason Smith and Willie Green knocking down jumpers with former Laker Trevor Ariza knocking down a three to punctuate their ten-point lead.
That was the last gasp for the Clippers as they fell apart in the fourth quarter, normally reserved for their third quarter performances. Blake Griffin was held to ten points and six rebounds, while Baron Davis came off the bench for four points and three great assists in ten minutes played.
Anaheim Ducks defeat San Jose Sharks 3-2 (OT). Don’t look now, but the Ducks have yet to be defeated in their four games in November. And in their first road test of the month, the same place of their 5-2 horror on Oct. 30, the Ducks managed to squeak out the two points despite being outplayed.
Things didn’t start well for the Ducks as they fell behind 1:42 in the first period on Torrey Mitchell’s goal. Jason Blake tied the game for the Ducks at 9:42 in the period, one of only two shots-on-goal for the Ducks in that opening period.
Corey Perry got a backhander to go through in the second period that stood up until 9:05 in the third period when Devin Setoguchi broke a 10-game goalless streak to tie the game. That came in a third period when the Sharks outshot the Ducks 22-6 absolutely abusing Ducks’ goalie Jonas Hiller. To Hiller’s credit he stood up to the challenge.
Particularly in the overtime period, after a turnover in the Ducks’ zone Hiller made a great pad save on Joe Pavelski’s shot. However thanks to a questionable icing call, Saku Koivu won a key faceoff in the Sharks’ zone getting the puck to Lubomir Visnovsky at the blue line. Visnovsky slid down and made a point blank shot from the blue line that Sharks’ goalie Antero Niittymaki had no hopes of saving.
Mr. Clutch Memorialized. ESPN L.A.’s Dave McMenamin is reporting that the Lakers will unveil a statue honoring Hall of Fame guard Jerry West during NBA All-Star Weekend. Los Angeles is the host city for All-Star weekend from Feb. 18-20, 2011.
West, “Mr. Clutch” and “The Logo,” played for the Lakers from 1960 to 1974 racking up 25,192 points as the Lakers all-time leading scorer until Kobe Bryant broke the record last season. He helped lead the Lakers to the NBA Finals nine times winning once in the 1971-’72 season and being named Finals MVP in the 1968-’69 in the Lakers’ seven-game losing effort to the Boston Celtics.
After his playing career he coached the Lakers to the playoffs from 1976 to 1979 and went into the front office being named General Manager prior to the 1982-’83 season. There he won seven championship rings before going to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2002 leading them to their first playoff berths. He retired in 2007.
West will join Wayne Gretzky, Magic Johnson, Oscar de la Hoya and Chick Hearn with statues in front of STAPLES Center.
LA Clippers (1-7) at San Antonio Spurs (5-1). 6:30 pm FS Prime Ticket, ESPN (National), AM 980 KFWB.
New York Islanders (10 pts., 4-8-2) at Anaheim Ducks (17 pts., 8-7-1). 7:00 pm FSWest, NHL Network (National and Canada), AM 830 KLAA.
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