Role Players – Metta World Peace, Matt Barnes, and Steve Blake each did their part in last night’s victory and must play in a similar fashion going forward. Neither had big games as they have had in the past, but they each showed flashes of what they do best and contributed just enough to help the Lakers win.
In the previous meeting between the Lakers and Warriors last Tuesday, World Peace and Barnes combined for 29 points, 15 rebounds (six offensive), and six assists in similar minutes (64 total minutes on Tuesday compared with 60 minutes last night). Last night, they combined for just 14 points and nine rebounds, but that’s just fine. Other players stepped up, and the activity level of Matt Barnes will never show up in the stat sheet. Both players’ defensive presence will rarely show up either, although Barnes had three blocks and two steals.
As long as each player maintains his respective focus in the game and contributes when/where it’s needed, that’s all you can ask of a role player. World Peace ended up hitting one of the biggest shots of the game last night, and Barnes had several defensive plays to alter the game.
As for Steve Blake, he may be one player that needs to provide stats off the bench. He hit one three-point shot and dished out five assists en route to seven points in 15 minutes. When Blake is on the floor, he must be aggressive, and the four free-throws he earned showed a bit of that last night. For a few games after the Lakers acquired Ramon Sessions, Blake wasn’t putting up much numbers in terms of points or assists.
With Derek Fisher gone, he will have to be confident in his outside shot as he was for a short stretch this season, or at least be aggressive and make plays for his teammates, which he also did for a short stretch before the trade. Last night he showed a good combination of both, even though he played in limited minutes.
With the possibility that Andrew Bynum will be out for a few games, the Lakers must share the responsibility and put together team wins.
Last night was a solid start.