The Lakers finally get a victory in 2013…and it only took two weeks…against the now 9-30 Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s been six games since this team and their anxious fans have tasted a win so let’s all get real – beggars can’t be choosers and boy, were we all begging.
It appeared to be a relatively easy game for the Lakers to play, and that’s due, in large part, to the fact that they didn’t make it hard on themselves to begin with. They jumped to a 19-point lead in the first quarter and never looked back. That would be a wire-to-wire victory, a phenomenon that this team hasn’t encountered often this season.
Dwight Howard was back in action after missing the last two games because of a right shoulder injury, Kobe Bryant’s shooting touch returned, Steve Nash did what Steve Nash does and as a team, and as a whole, the Lakers played with a sense of purpose – the losing streak would end at six.
Equal Opportunity – 32 assists on 40 made field goals. Every player who hit the floor, save for Jodie Meeks who only played 4:25 minutes, handed out at least one dime, led by Steve Nash’s nine, Chris Duhon’s seven and Bryant’s six. The excellent ball movement proved to be beneficial for all. No player attempted more than 14 shots (Bryant, who hit nine and finished with 23 points), and after him was Howard (22 points on 9-11, 14 rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block). Six players scored in double figures and the Lakers finished with a 58% FG% and were also 13-25 from behind the arc, something they’ve struggle with of late. If the team is this generous with the ball, the offense will never fail them. And as has been the case, when the offense is clicking, so is the defense.
Defense – The only way to accomplish a scoring run is by preventing the other team from scoring themselves, and tonight, the Lakers again showed that when they so choose, they can play defense. In the first quarter, they held the Cavs to 36% shooting while they racked up 37 points on 65% from the field. Metta World Peace, who scored just eight points, had four steals, which made a world of difference.
Stepping Up – If there’s anything this Laker team has proven this season, it’s that they have on their team, young players who are not afraid to contribute when their name is called. With Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol both out, the team has leaned on young Earl Clark and he has not disappointed. Tonight he chipped in 13 points on 5-9, grabbed nine rebounds, handed out four assists and blocked three shots. The bench put in 37 points.
Victory – It’s been a long time since the Lakers have put together a win like this. It’s been a long time since the Lakers have won at all. It feels good.
The Lakers played hard and with purpose for the majority of the game AND they got the victory. Let’s not dwell on low points, as they are few. They did allow the Cavs to get back in the game because of their carelessness, but they stayed the course through the end.
Turnovers – 22 giveaways, that’s too many for one game.
The Lakers have just two games the rest of this week, and we can only hope that tonight’s contest will have inspired them somehow. It’s a long road back to .500.