The Battle Up North

When watching the Los Angeles Lakers play the Golden State Warriors last night, I tried a different format than usual as far as my notes for last night’s game go. I normally focus a lot on numbers, specific plays, and try to be as detailed as possible.  By doing it that way, I think I sometimes lose a little of the overall flavor and don’t enjoy the game as much because I’m so intent on writing everything down.

In that spirit, I thought last night’s game in Oakland against the Warriors was a good test for the Lakers and pretty exciting overall.  We all know the Lakers are not one of the fastest teams in the league and Golden State definitely is, so it made for an interesting paradox in basketball style.  Monta Ellis couldn’t be stopped, totaling 18 points before the half was over and 38 points overall.  He drove in the lane, hit four monstrous threes and led his team to a near upset of the defending champs, as the Warriors were up by 14 during the game.   

Kobe Bryant, on the other hand, couldn’t get anything going in the first half, like most of the Lakers.  At one point, he had more turnovers (five) than points (four).  The Lakers weren’t playing defense and seemed content to trade baskets with the Warriors, a strategy that would not have been as horrible as it was if they had been making more shots. The purple and gold fought back though, with Ron hitting a tying three a few minutes before halftime.

Naturally, the Warriors went on a run and it was all for naught. Overall Artest played quite well, totaling 10 points and 7 assists, and hitting one of the most crucial shots of the game: a three pointer with 1:55 left to play in the game, on an assist from Kobe. I won’t lie, I was hesitant to see him shoot it… but in Ron’s defense, he’s been playing much better lately, a three from the corner is his shot, and I alternately expect him to make it and miss it every time he attempts one. I view both him and Derek Fisher as 50/50 with regard to my expectations for the shot falling. At the same time, they’ve both proven that they can and will make the shot when it really counts. I’d bet on either of them in crunch time of a close game.

Next: Dominance in the Paint

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