Outscore your opponent – that is the Mike D’Antoni way. Some nights it works; most nights it doesn’t. Tonight, it’s what finally got the Lakers to their 20th win.
Coming in with a 20-37 record, the Sacramento Kings are just as awful as the home team. Without DeMarcus Cousins, suspended for punching Houston’s Patrick Beverley and verbally abusing an official, they should have been worse off, but they ended the first half on a 13-2 run and an 11-point lead. That lead turned into a 15-point advantage to start the second half, and it appeared the Lakers had run into another one of their third quarter lulls.
With just under five minutes left in that third quarter, however, former New Jersey Nets teammates, Jordan Farmar and MarShon Brooks took over. The two went on a 21-12 run that got the Lakers within five points going into the final 12 minutes, where Farmar and Brooks led the final charge into a 126-122 victory.
Scoring Show – It was 126-122, there was nothing BUT offense. The Kings shot 51% from the field and the Lakers shot 60%. Six Lakers scored in double figures and four players scored 20 or more. They also outscored Sacramento 72-57 in the second half and 30-17 in fast break points.
Jordan Farmar and MarShon Brooks– Now considered a veteran, Farmar was a leader out there, not just vocally in huddles and timeouts, but as an example on the floor. He topped the team with his 30 points on 9-14 from the field and 8-10 from downtown. 19 of his points came in the second half and he handed out seven assists while committing just a single turnover. Right behind him was Brooks, with his 23 points on 9-13 from the field and 3-3 from behind the arc. In his post-game interview, he credited Farmar for teaching him much about the game during their time in New Jersey, and Farmar noted that he remembers where MarShon likes the ball on the floor. With Farmar’s teammate and close friend, Nick SwaggyP Young out with an injury, it appears he’s found a solid stand-in. Teamwork – Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks chipped in 22 points apiece. Gasol was 10-17, adding in five rebounds, six assists and a pair of blocks. Meeks was a perfect 8-8 from the field, 3-3 from three. Not to be left out, Wesley Johnson and Kent Bazemore contributed 12 points each, with Johnson grabbing a game leading 12 rebounds and three blocks. Ryan Kelly’s stat line isn’t much to boast about – five points on 2-2 from the field, four rebounds, one assist and two blocks, but he led the team with a +16. And Kendall Marshall, who has lost his shooting touch the last few games, still led the game with 10 of the Lakers’ 35 assists.
Threeball – The Lakers created a franchise record for threes in a regulation game tonight. They shot 19-27 from behind the arc – 70%! They had gone just 5-9 in the first half, then exploded with 14-18 in the second half. The Kings may have beaten them 66-52 in the paint, but
Block Party – 11 blocks for the Lakers in the game, led by Johnson’s three. They may not have played lockdown defense, but the effort was there.
Defense – There was next to nothing from either side, otherwise the score wouldn’t have gone as far as it did past the century mark. After just three quarters, the score was 99-95. That looks more like final score for most NBA games.
Free throws – The Kings attempted twice as many free throws as the Lakers (32 to the Lakers’ 16), but you get that opportunity when you’re scoring in the paint. The Lakers scarcely drove the ball in to score because, well, that’s not their usual game plan. In effect, they not only lose the higher percentage points that come from inside, but the chance to shoot free throws as well.
It was appropriate that the Lakers donned their black Hollywood Nights jerseys, because this game, like many of their games this season, have a flare for the dramatics. They’re shorthanded, playing with new teammates every few months, and they fell behind by as much as 15 points tonight, and then two guards carried them to a win.. A come-from-behind effort that finally got the team to their 20th victory. It’s been a traffic season, yes, but sometimes there are nights like tonight, that happen just like Hollywood ordered.