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LAst Night's Action: Lakers Show Class and Sass
LA Lakers defeat Houston Rockets 112-110. The Lakers schooled the rest of the league on how to celebrate a championship. The players got on the microphone and introduced one another culminating with Kobe Bryant introducing Owner Dr. Jerry Buss before the unveiling of the championship banner. The only blemish was the omission of Rasheed Hazzard (son of Walt). However there was no hype, only the requisite amount of pomp, the unveiling of the banner then the game - exactly the way it should be.
As for the game, stop me if you’ve heard this story before. The Lakers give up an obscene number of points to the opponent in the first half and continue to struggle in the third quarter. Something wakes them up late in the third quarter, they shut down the opponent but still need a last-second miracle by Kobe to win.
After the pregame ceremony, the Lakers looked rusty from the outset - there was more clanging going on by the Lakers than a St. Louis trolley. The Lakers shot 39% from the floor going 2-for-11 on three-pointers, both made by Ron Artest. And their aptitude on defense matched their effort at times last season: the Rockets had 62 points at the half on 48% shooting and 6-for-11 from three.
Everything was going according to script until the waking up part late in the third quarter. Last season the Lakers relied on Kobe and Pau Gasol to spark these comebacks, but not so tonight. In a stark difference from last season it was the bench, namely the three B’s - Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and the irrepressible Shannon Brown. Blake made back-to-back three-pointers at the end of the third quarter to cut the Rockets’ lead to 82-77 and from that point the Lakers went on a 21-4 run to take a 92-86 lead with 7:43 remaining in the game. That run was punctuated by Brown’s 28-foot three pointer on a Blake assist.
In that span Brown scored eight points, Blake had seven and Barnes had two free-throws and two key offensive boards.
Also diverging from the script was the final minute of the game. After Luis Scola made a layup with 29 seconds left in the game to give the Rockets a 110-109 lead, the Lakers had the ball in Kobe’s hands. He did leave his imprint on the final shot of the game for the Lakers: a dish. The Ball Hog passed the ball to Blake who nailed the three and the game shut.
Kobe had 27 points while Gasol led all scorers with 29 points. While the Lakers’ bench only had a 32-30 scoring edge over the Rockets’ bench, they did the bulk of their scoring in the fourth quarter when it mattered. Brown had 16 points while going 4-for-5 from behind the arc while Blake had 10 points going 3-for-4 from three.
Anaheim Ducks defeat Dallas Stars 5-2. The Ducks were very shaky in the first period getting off only seven shots-on-goal and ceding a power-play goal to Loui Erikksson with less than four minutes left in the period, but they got it together in the second period aided by Bobby Ryan’s two goals and got the rare win in Dallas.
The Miami Revolution. We were told that this NBA season opener featuring the retooled Miami Heat and the reigning Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics was going to be like the Daytona 500. It ended up being just another season opener complete with offensive rust and turnovers galore.
It was a painful game watch at times with the Heat scoring only nine points in the first quarter and 30 in the first half. The Celtics coughed up the ball 18 times while the Heat had 17 turnovers. Basically there was a whole lot of ugly going on that parquet floor in the Garden.
The Heat trailed by as many as 19 points in the third quarter when LeBron James flipped the switch and scored 14 points in the third quarter to help get the Heat back in the game. The Heat cut the deficit to three points in the fourth quarter and got away from James in the fourth who scored only four points in that final quarter. James would end the game leading all scorers with 31 points with a rusty Dwyane Wade knocking in 13 points.
For the Celtics there was a bit more equity in point distribution with four players - Ray Allen with 20 points, Paul Pierce with 19, Glen Davis off the bench with 13 and Kevin Garnett with 10. But Rajon Rondo despite only scoring four points dished it out 17 times while getting five boards.
It’s too early to make any overarching indictments based on this one game. Lord knows when those aging legs of the Celtics start breaking down and when Heat’s head coach Eric Spoelstra determines which players play well together (however why that wasn’t determined in the preseason I have no idea.) The Heat will not go 0-82 and we know they will definitely not go 82-0. Let’s just see how this plays out.
Dustin Brown Safe. After given a game misconduct in Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild on his lateral hit against Antti Miettinen, Kings’ captain Dustin Brown escaped further discipline by the league. Despite what the broadcasters on Versus say below, Brown didn’t make contact with Miettinen’s head. Watch it below:
LA Kings (12 pts, 6-2-0) at Chicago Blackhawks (11 pts., 5-4-1). 5:30 pm FSWest, AM 1150 KTLK.
Portland Trail Blazers (0-0) at LA Clippers (0-0). 7:30 FS Prime Ticket, ESPN (Nationally), AM 980 KFWB.
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