As for the game itself, I’m afraid it was terribly disappointing. I had originally planned to write a detailed, thoughtful recap of the Lakers-Grizzlies game, much like I did a week ago when they played Chicago. Unfortunately, I misplaced my diligent notes and had pretty much decided to ignore most of them anyway. I don’t see the need to dwell on a few amazing plays when the overall feel of the game and the outcome in particular was so dismal.
I thought the game started out well enough, but it was a telling sign for the evening that the only Lakers to score for most of the first quarter were Kobe and Pau. Derek had a nice little game; his parents had driven from his hometown in Arkansas, so perhaps he was putting on a show for them. I felt it was his most solid outing of the season so far. Ron also had a good game (we’ll get to the end in a moment); he was 2 of 4 from three point range, and 5 of 11 overall. He also had a number of hustle plays and just seemed to be working more diligently than he has. Even though the box score doesn’t reflect it, I felt very positive about his effort.
Barnes didn’t have a great game, and Shannon was struggling at first but he and Steve Blake became our second half saviors. Brown hit a beautiful, very long three pointer as the shot clock expired late in the 3rd, and followed it up with a fast break layup. Great energy, great plays.
Blake hit 2 threes in a row, and was 3-5 from beyond the arc. I felt like we had a great chance to win the game, especially after coming back from a 13 point deficit. Unfortunately, one of the problems was the number of shots that popped out of the basket. I couldn’t believe how many shots wouldn’t stay down; I don’t know if that is the fault of bad luck, of poor, flat shooting, or most likely a combination of the two.
The other problem was Kobe. Yes, I said it. I hate picking on Kobe, and I avoid blaming him for absolutely anything if possible. He gets a little too much leeway from me, but I just can’t help it: he’s my favorite and always has been. Last night though was terrible. 9-25. Airballs. One on five matchups. It was way too much 2006 Kobe and not enough 2010 Kobe. I’m not sure why he felt the need to take over as much as he did, but it seemed excessive.
I actually wanted the ball out of his hands a number of times… he would stop the ball movement and just start dribbling into defenders. Granted, his teammates didn’t come over to help much, but it just annoyed me. The one time I absolutely wanted him to shoot was at the end of the game. He had a great look, went up…. and passed to Ron Artest. I couldn’t believe it! No matter what Ron does, I will never say another bad word about him because he saved us in Game 5 against the Suns and of course Game 7 against the Celtics. That doesn’t mean that I want him taking the game winning shot if Kobe already has the ball in his hands and a decent look at the basket!
A little midrange jumper with a high arc, boom: Lakers win. But Kobe throws it to Ron. Ron’s attempt was blocked by Rudy Gay and the Lakers lost their third game in a row for only the second time since acquiring Pau in February 2008.