Coming off a victorious showing against the hated Boston Celtics, a letdown was nowhere to be found as the Lakers recently handled the Golden State Warriors with ease.
All is well in Lakerland (aside from the injury to Farmar). However, there’s always room for some good questions, some deep thoughts, and a little bit of “The Truth”. Let the truth be told.
On the biggest stage this season, in the highest rated regular-season NBA game in four years, the Los Angeles Lakers made a strong statement by ending Boston’s 19-game winning streak.
Coming off such an intense and highly hyped-up matchup is often grounds for a complete letdown but Kobe Bryant, the “complete player” as touted by Coach Don Nelson, made sure that his crew kept up the pace. The Los Angeles Lakers were +14 on the boards and Andrew Bynum recorded his 10th double-double of the season. It was a post holiday feast as the Lakers shared the ball recording 33 assists and posting up their highest total this season, 130 points.
The Los Angeles Lakers sit atop the Western Conference at 25-5 having scored a league-leading 107.3 points per game and allowing 97.6. Yes, things are looking pretty good for Coach Phil and the Lake Show.
There’s plenty to see with the likes of the Machine knocking down 3’s, Lamar driving to the hoop, Kobe breaking ankles left and right, and Gasol’s amazing efficiency. The positives are there making for a must-see show indeed. However, championship teams are made up of defense and heart. Let’s consider the Los Angeles Lakers on the defensive end.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, the Lakers are 4th in defensive rating (available since the 1977-78 season in the NBA for players and teams; refers to points allowed per 100 possessions). The team is averaging 44.8 RPG, 5.5 BPG, and 9.3 SPG. That’s pretty good statistics for a club coming off an embarrassing showing in Game 6 of last year’s NBA Finals which left us with lots of questions that needed to be answered. Questions regarding defense, a lack of heart, and the ability to be physical.
With the added presence of Andrew “A-Train” Bynum, the Lakers are making good strides. Pau Gasol has been the most efficient player to wear Purple and Gold this season and Lamar Odom seems to be adding a little attitude to his finishes in the lane.
Speaking of the big 3… the Lakers have the killer option of putting not just one but two seven foot monsters in the middle. Add Lamar Odom’s length and you have a very scary (potentially) lane for opposing point guards. The pieces are there and at times the whole puzzle makes for a very beautiful picture. If the Lakers can find their mojo, stay focused, and maintain a high level of intensity no opposing player is going to want to walk down Laker lane at Staples or any other court for that matter.
The sting of last year’s Finals should be plenty of motivation for the Lakers to make the middle a House of Horrors and keep the momentum going.