Last night was a strange, ugly game. Turnovers were abundant, there were very few second chance points and no one rebounded a whole lot except Andrew Bynum. The Lakers seemed to come out with at least some energy, so I don’t think it was a lack of effort- it was sloppiness and poor execution that doomed them down to the very last play.
One of the only people I was impressed with last night was the aforementioned Andrew Bynum. He grabbed a career high 23 rebounds, had 4 blocks and was dominant on the defensive end, clogging the lane and altering shots. It was just the kind of game we need from him every night; while more points would have been nice, Drew still managed 12. I don’t consider that his main team function anyway and therefore not how I choose to judge his performances.
I was also pretty happy with Ron Artest’s performance. From the opening tip he was aggressive and set up Pau Gasol for the Lakers’ first two points. He brought a lot of energy and tenacity to the floor, and finished with 9 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals.
It was his hustle plays that I was most proud of; there was a sequence in the 3rd quarter where he poked the ball away and chased it to the other end of the court where the Jazz recovered it. Instead of giving up, however, he trailed the play and poked the ball free once more that resulted in a Fisher-assisted Kobe jam. His defense was on point last night, and it showed.
Next: A Muddle of a Game