LAst Night's Action: Lakers Regain Form in Playoff Win Against Thunder
LA Lakers defeat Oklahoma City Thunder 87-79. The Lakers responded to all critics and shut down NBA regular season scoring champion Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. With Ron Artest harassing Durant all game long Durant did score 24 however he did have 24 shot attempts - not a good ratio. While Russell Westbrook tried to pick up some slack with 23 points helping the Thunder cut into the Lakers lead in the third quarter. But no one else on the Thunder responded, and the Lakers just did their thing. With Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant back in the lineup, it was like the last six weeks didn’t happen. Bynum had 13 points and 12 rebounds while Pau Gasol also had a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Kobe led the Lakers with 21 points.
LA Dodgers defeat San Francisco Giants 2-1. You can read my recap of the game here. It was the most enjoyable Dodgers game to watch this season.
LA Angels defeat Toronto Blue Jays 3-1. Angels’ starter Ervin Santana had a bounce back start by pitching a complete game. In fact Santana had a shutout going with two outs in the ninth inning when he gave up a homer to Adam Lind that broke it up. But Santana got Vernon Wells to line out to centerfielder Reggie Willits to end the game. The game was a scoreless tie until the sixth inning when Hideki Matsui hit an RBI double sending Erick Aybar home. The Angels would give Santana some breathing room in the top of the ninth inning when Mike Napoli pinch running for Matsui came home on a fielding error by Jays’ first baseman Lyle Overbay on a Kendry Morales grounder. Catcher Jeff Mathis doubled scoring Morales. With both Santana and Blue Jays’ starter Ricky Romero both having excellent games, the afternoon affair took all of two hours, 21 minutes.
Saturday night the Kings tied their series with the Vancouver Canucks with a 3-2 win in overtime. The Kings looked a step too slow in the opening period resulting in Steve Bernier on the power play and Mikael Samuelsson scoring goals two minutes apart from each other resulting in a 2-0 lead. It looked like all the changes head coach Terry Murray made would backfire. But with the realization that could be down two games in the blink of an eye, they simplified things in the second and third periods and didn’t make the crucial turnovers that cost them in the first game. A pair of goals by Fredrik Modin on the power play and Wayne Simmonds 35 seconds apart in the middle of the second period tied the game up 2-2.
In overtime the Kings took advantage of the Canucks having too many men on ice 6:14 in the period and had a crisp power play shift. Defenseman Jack Johnson’s faking and passing allowed an open cross-ice passing lane between Drew Doughty at the left point and Anze Kopitar who shot the puck and followed through on the rebound for the game winning goal.
This series has been very close with both games going to overtime as anticipated. Things shift now to Staples Center Monday and Wednesday night where the Kings ask fans to black out the Staples Center. Hopefully the fans will heed the request.
- Here an interesting baseball-hockey note. Players from the Chicago Cubs were watching the Blackhawks host the Nashville Predators in the first game of their first round playoff series on Friday. The heavily favored Blackhawks lost. Players from the Chicago White Sox watched the Blackhawks in Game 2 of that series Sunday night. The Blackhawks won. Moral of the story: The Cubs’ curse extends to anything they touch.
Vancouver Canucks at LA Kings. Game 3 of the first round Stanley Cup Playoffs with the series tied 1-1. 7:00 pm FSWest, Versus (National), AM 570 KLAC.
Detroit Tigers (7-5) at LA Angels (6-7). Dontrelle Willis (0-0, 4.91 ERA) vs. Joel Pineiro (1-1, 2.77 ERA). 7:05 pm FS Prime Ticket, AM 830 KLAA.