TLN’s Postgame Report: Lakers vs. Magic – Runaway Train (84-97, Win)

Harry How / Getty Images

Why, after getting behind by just six points at the half, did the Lakers return to the floor like they were down 30, Chris McGee asked Lamar Odom after the game.

“Because we knew we could’ve played better,” Odom said.

If there’s one thing that signals the home stretch of the long regular season, it’s the Lakers’ recognizing some accountability. They can no longer fall back on the “it’s a long season” mentality when their play appears sluggish or disinterested. There are 14 games left before the post-season, and they know that teams are breathing down their backs for a favorable spot in the West. They know that teams bulked up in the middle on both coasts to compete with their size. And they know that no matter what their competitors do, that championship in June is as good as gone if they don’t prepare the one area in their quest that they can actually control – themselves.

Phil Jackson said that during the All-Star break, Andrew Bynum approached the coaching staff, stating that he didn’t feel like he was being as active of a player on the floor as he should be. The result? A challenge posed for Bynum to be a game changer, not by scoring in dozens, but by owning the glass and intimidating the opponent to question their decision when they meet him in the paint. Tonight, Bynum was matched up against Dwight Howard, whom the young center described this weekend as the best center in the league. Howard may have gotten his 22 points on an efficient 8-14 from the field, and he may have collected 15 rebounds, but this Lakers team, especially Bynum, made him work hard for all of it. Bynum finished the evening with 10 points on just 3-10, but he grabbed 18 rebounds to tie his career high, blocked four shots and had zero turnovers (Howard had 9 of the Magic’s 18 turnovers). In the last six games, Bynum has averaged 15.8 rpg. Phil predicts that Bynum could be taking over Pau Gasol’s spot on that NBA  rebounding list some time this season.

Pau Gasol, especially on the defensive end, can be slow or careless to react. He collected just five rebounds in almost 35 minutes of play, and when Bynum had to sit down for a breather, the Orlando Magic took advantage when Gasol was at center. He did finish, however, with 23 points on 8-17, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and he too, had zero turnovers for the night. Gasol’s armory of skill sets were on display today; face-up jumpers, lay-ins and that oh-so-nifty running hook. The Magic had no one to bring Gasol down. Ryan Anderson? Orlando has him for one thing and it’s not defense.

For all the talk of Derek Fisher’s lack of contribution to games, he came up big tonight. Fisher had 16 points on 6-9, 2 assists, and 2 steals; clearly the bright spot in the Lakers’ first-half offensive struggles. Most commendable, however, was how he defended Orlando point guard, Jameer Nelson, as did Steve Blake.

Steve Blake and the Laker reserves, in fact, had an excellent game tonight, outscoring the Magic bench 27-13. The Killer B’s are back, and with the help of Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol, pushed the tempo and the intensity on both sides of the floor. In a highlight play, Matt Barnes intercepted a pass, sent the ball to a sprinting Shannon Brown who scored on a layup and 1 which pushed the Lakers’ lead to their largest at 16. Lamar Odom chipped in 16 points on 7-12, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He even converted on a couple of threes. The one blemish of the bench’s performance was Brown and the two shot-clock violations he committed from over-dribbling. He went just 2-10 from the field and lacked the ability to make decisions with the ball in his hands. Too much dribbling leads to turnovers. Lucky for the Lakers, Brown’s missteps still kept their turnover total to five for the game.

Kobe Bryant, with his sprained ankle, played in tonight’s game and put in 16 points but went just 7-19. But it wasn’t so much his offense that helped the team. It was his defense; drawing a charge on Jameer Nelson, then forcing Jason Richardson to lose the ball off the sidelines. For the night, he also had five rebounds, four assists, and a steal.

The Lakers’ second half defense has become a thing of beauty to watch since the All-Star break. With the exception of the Portland game that went into overtime, the Lakers have kept their opponents under 100 points and an average of 87.8 ppg. After allowing Orlando to shoot just 47% in the first half as it was, the Lakers kept the visitors to 38 points in the second half. Trailing as the second quarter began, the home team won every quarter thereafter.

The Lakers have gone 10-1 since the break and look like a confident bunch as they continue to dominate their opponents. That Miami game would have been a great win, to keep the Lakers’ record at 11-0 since the All-Star Game, but that doesn’t matter now. There are teams other than Miami who require the Lakers’ attention and up next are those pesky Minnesota Timberwolves.

Box Score
Pre-game Thoughts: He’s been playing like the big, bad man that he is, but Andrew Bynum’s got yet another big test tonight against two-time defensive player of the year, Dwight Howard. As if he wasn’t enough of a handful, the Lakers as a team have to defend Orlando’s prowess behind the arc. And, Kobe Bryant shouldn’t play tonight due to his sprained ankle, but who are we kidding?
Half-time Thoughts: 46-41 – 35%; that’s the shooting percentage for defending champs in the first 24 minutes. They’re dominating on the offensive glass, and the Magic have 10 turnovers already to the Lakers’ three, but the home team had just one assist in the first quarter. No ball movement = no easy hoops. The bright spot for the Lakers is most definitely Andrew Bynum, who’s got just six points, but has collected 12 rebounds and four blocks. Bynum has also picked up three fouls so he needs to be careful in the second half. His defensive efforts on Dwight Howard will surely be missed if he has to head to the bench because of foul trouble.
Most Thoughtless Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: Lakers’ first half offense – as in there was none. The only reason the deficit at half-time was a mere six points, was that Orlando had committed 10 turnovers. Just eight assists in 24 minutes of play for the Lakers.
Most Thought-filled Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: Andrew Bynum was, as he’s been since the All-Star break, a real sight to see, but the Laker reserves deserve some credit for showing up their opponents tonight. It’s great having the Killer B’s together again alongside sixth man, Lamar Odom. And the energy and change of pace they bring to the game isn’t just obvious on the offensive end. It’s noticeable on the defensive end as well, and that made all the difference tonight.

Anna Gonda has been the post-game editor for LakerNation.com since the 2009-2010 season. Between post-game reports, she's a full-time advertising coordinator for an academic publisher and a part-time photographer. Favorite Lakers: Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. Favorite Laker Moment: Game 7, 2010 Finals against the Boston Celtics.
  • MAS

    if bynum and the bench play with this kind of intensity no one can beat us. even with a bad kobe we can win every game

    • fingerpointin

      LMAO

    • Chi-Town Walt

      What da hell do u mean a bad kobe! Go kill yourself Moron.

    • Short Dog

      Kobe is the best ever. You can’t compare no one to him.
      5 rings means he knows how to get it done.
      Watch out Jordan you are going down
      Kobe = Living Legend

  • http://www.jackyang.info Jack

    Kobe wasnt bad. He was moving around fine. I think he just didn’t elevate as much because in the back of his mind he’s worried about reaggrevating that ankle. Shooting % ain’t everything.

  • 242LakerFan

    It wasn’t as if Kobe were ruhing into 27 footers with :20 on the shot clock or trying to push too hard to win the game on his own. His shot was just off, and understandably so. I would have been lying in bed crying like…well, like a Heat small forward, if MY foot had turned over like that. With 3+ days before the next game to rehab and rest it, Kobe’s going to be just fine.
    But Bynum was HUGE in this game. Like I said before, if he could just neutralize Howard, the rest of the team could outmatch the rest of the Magic and that’s exactly how it went. He handled Howard like a little brother. Sure, he was outscored, but he blocked Howard at least twice and that one block Howard had on him looks like goaltending every time I see it. He outrebounded Howard and 9-0 turnovers is no insignificant stat.
    This is another important win for this team. I am interested to see how they manage to keep their intensity up during what should be a relatively soft schedule the next couple of weeks.
    Most importantly, we are now even with Dallas and only half a game behind Chicago and Boston. The second overall seed and valuable home court advantage are within our grasp. It’s time to step on the gas.
    NWA. Just watch your subject-verb agreement in the 4th sentence in the Gasol paragraph.
    Feels good to be a Laker fan right now, don’t it? Hahaa!

  • rondo

    Bynum is beginning to show why most great players in the past did not develope until they finished college. They all came in the league at 22 years old Russel ,Chamberlain and Jabbar to name a few. Bynum out of high school was not ready. Bynum has worked on his body and has really learned the game playing with the Lakers and has become a very good player who knows how to win.

    • fingerpointin

      bynum didn’t have alot of experience,but in all fairness he was injured,two times by his own teammates.

      • LakerMarc

        hah!!!! funny

  • orangewire

    If the Lakers would have lost this game, there would have been 50+ comments on why fisher should retire and how bynum and artest need to be traded.

    • lakerman1

      Agreed.

      • orangewire

        i see why other fans call us fakers lol… just wait to we lose another game, anna’s post game is going to be the hottest blog on the internet

    • Lakerman928

      Completely disagree we’re on a nice streak hottest team in the NBA soo I highly doubt anyone would bitch about this loss

      • LakerMarc

        Hated the fact that Heat beat Spurs by 30! I cant believe they allowed this to happen…LOL I actually rooted for them!

    • 242LakerFan

      Oh, yeah, I love this game. Let me play!
      IF the Lakers had lost that game in June against the Celtics, THEY’d be the champs.
      IF the Lakers had drafted Terry Cummings instead of James Worthy to play with Magic Johnson HE’d be in the Hall of Fame instead.
      IF the Lakers plane had gone down in that field fifty years ago, there would BE no Lakers Nation!
      IF the Japanese hadn’t bombed Pearl Harbour, the French would be speaking German and the Japanese and the German Empires would be the Superpowers today and there might BE no NBA at all!
      Oooo this is so much fun!

      • ilikebasketball

        if orangewire hadn’t posted that dumb ass comment i wouldn’t be wasting my time.

        • 242LakerFan

          LMAO!

  • ZK

    It sure seems like they are finally dialed in. More importantly, it is not just Mamba and Fish, it is the whole team.
    You are right 242, we need to secure the second best record.
    Good to see the Laker Nation acknowledging Drew. He is the difference maker this year. Great game from Fish as well.
    GO LAKERS!

    • LakerMarc

      I have noticed that Fish has been charging through the paint as of late with more force and attacking. That Fool is like the smallest dude out there most of the time…

  • 123kid

    omg i was bursting out in laughter when i saw that van gundy was about to pop a vein or turn into the fat bastard hulk. but anyways, I thought they played great. a little slow in the beginning, but not too bad. the bench made some bad mistakes when it came to waiting till the last second and having shannon chuck up a fading 3, but at least we came out with the W. and hopefully Kobe can get some much needed rest and get back to at least 150% from his normal off the charts %.

    • LakerMarc

      uhhhh ……. what planet does your Kobe play on..we’re here on Earth…. .

  • ilikebasketball

    Anybody notice early in the game when Bynum, i believe, dunked on howard or something….and they ran back together and Howard make some wisecrack and Bynum was laughing and went to hug Howard as they ran down the court. Then realized he was on tv or something.
    Howard at the halftime interview i swear was still laughing about it. I would LOVE to see a youtube video of it if anyones got it.
    but then after he hugged him he blocked howard or altered his shot and started a fast break. it was great.
    reminded me of when he played against Shaq early on and got really excited cause he defended shaq well and then shaq elbowed him in the chest.

    • 242LakerFan

      I noticed that too! They were like two ten-year-olds on the playground! He laughed and hugged him then he punked him. It was beautiful!

    • LakerMarc

      They’re like friends… not just on the court friendly..I know that when the Lakers won the 08/09 champion ship they made plans to workout in the summer together…..so they are friendly….maybe there’s a bromance there!!!!

    • Short Dog

      Lets get Howard this summer.
      gethoward.com
      garnett and the celtics look soft
      perkins is just hating life
      Punks

  • Kobe Has 5 Rings

    Good win and it’s great to see the Lakers matching up with the best teams in the league heading into the playoffs cause that will only keep their focus going especially with that 2nd seed up for grabs. 3 peat is within reach and so is Dwight Howard coming to the Lakers in 2012.

    • 242LakerFan

      IDK, I’m leaning more toward not needing DHO if a healthy Bynum can handle him like this. Let’s go after CP3 or DWill instead and take care of that position.

      • ilikebasketball

        agreed.

        if bynum is well we are well.

        our pg position is our most glaring deficiency in my eyes.

      • LakerMarc

        I dont like Dwill for the Lakers tho’ something about that dude just dsnt work for me as a Laker tho…I do like him tho but not as a Laker fit….anybody else see this?

        • 242LakerFan

          He has said some hateful stuff about the Lakers, but then everyone hates the Lakers…till they have a chance to BE one. (Noteable exception, of course, Raja “Tinker” Bell)
          Add Deron to the mix, though, and there aren’t enough players to double team the point, the paint (Pau, Bynum, Lamar) and the perimeter (Kobe, Lamar)

          • LakerMarc

            Tinker? Good one …and the way he fucked Kobe over leaving him kinda stranded when he had no intentions in even considering LA … Fuck RAJA!!

      • rondo

        242Lakerfan You are one smart guy! The Lakers don’t need Dwight Howard I still think Andrew is as good or better then him. I always wonder how Andrew would do playing offense with a point guard who know how to get him the ball scary.

    • rondo

      Kobe has 5 Rings you need to go to Orlando and follow the Magic and Dwight Howard! Bynum is our man.

  • LakersThe2010Champs

    A huge Laker fan, and it’s a solid win against a good team. It still I can’t keep me from being critical to Kobe. The Lakers play better offense when he’s not on the court – a more fluid offense with no one hogging the ball.

    • riley

      Yeah and if Kobe wasnt on the court and the game got close YOU would be begging kobe to get in the game Shut the fuck up You aint a real fan When Kobe aint on the floor every player HAS to step up because kobe aint there for them to lean on

      • LakerMarc

        Settle down Riley I dont think that comment deserved for you to go off like that. AND HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW HE ISNT A TRUE LAKER FAN……

      • 242LakerFan

        Harsh much?

        • LakerMarc

          well you gotta open a can evry once in awhile ’round here!

          • 242LakerFan

            I agree, wholeheartedly, but that comment was in response to the comment you responded to. Notice it’s in line with yours. I was actually handing you the can opener. LOL

      • rondo

        Riley you have know right telling someone to shut the fuck up. You need to get out of Kobe’s jock. You guys act like people can’t talk about Kobe. Do you protect your wife or girlfriend like you protect Kobe?

  • kmac_321

    Here we go!! lol ya lakers, rest up well deserved.

  • tony S.

    the lakers shoudl rest kobe and fisher and lose to the t’wolves man poor kurt rambis he deserves a win

    • 242LakerFan

      =/

    • LakerMarc

      =\

  • Kobe Has 5 Rings

    There are alot of if’s when it comes to Bynum. The last time I remembered him playing this well was in ’08 before he got hurt and the uncertainty with him is that you are always going to have your fingers crossed that he stay healthy and plays this way. Now my argument for Howard is let’s start with the fact that since he came into the league in ’04 as a fulltime starter he’s only missed 9 yes 9 games and he does everything that Bynum does and on a more consistent level, with him you never wonder gee I hope he shows up man and you can include Monday in that he still had 22 and 15 and no one else on that horrible team did anything. Obviously we love Bynum because he’s on our team and on a roll but we all say “if he can only stay healthy and keep this up” and with Kobe aging tell me guys, is Bynum the guy to build your team around for the next 7-10 yrs? And judging by the way things are in this league can you see other stars like Kevin Durant or Deron Williams coming here to play with Andrew Bynum or Dwight Howard?
    CP3 is going to the Knicks cause he shares the same agent as Carmelo but Deron Williams looks very shaky when it comes to his future.

  • rondo

    All you punks who name yourself after Kobe are a bunch of clowns. I don’t listern to anything you guys say because you dont like the Lakers you are in love with KOBE!

  • Kobe Has 5 Rings

    I’ve loved the Lakers since I was 8 yrs old and I had to endure Dick Stockton and Tommy Heinsohn on CBS kill the Lakers and present one of the most biased telecast in the history of national broadcasting. I’ve lived through showtime, the 1st three peat and here we still are.

  • thebitterfan

    kobe should shut his pie hole talking about “we expect bynum to play that way”. he should fix his game first before making comments about his teammates. i mean he’s been shooting a pathetic FG% of 30%? and the worst is he takes a lot of shot most of them are erratic and reckless.

    • riley

      and if kobe got hurt you would be the first bitch complaining when lakers get eliminated also THE MAIN REASON THEY DRAFTED BYNUM WAS TO BE DOMINANT!

      PHIL said it first Kobe was just repeating what phil said.

      Dumbass kid

      • thebitterfan

        woo! woo! no reason to be personal.

        Even Magic criticized kobe for his FG%. And Phil said it once last year, shoot better or shoot less.

        Kobe is tough and has an iron will – i’m not taking that away from him even the critics agree to that. What I don’t like is he shoots too much and makes a lot of bad decissions.

        If he can improve his FG to around 50% then we can start comparing him to Jordan and Phil will agree with me on this.

        Dumb ass old man!

        • riley

          Jordan is jordan and Kobe is Kobe Both Great
          The only comparisons
          1.They both play for phil
          2.Both 2 guards
          3.Both Has The will to win

          NOBODY BROUGHT UP JORDAN BUT YO DUMB ASS

      • rondo

        (Riley) Get out of KOBE’S jock!

  • rondo

    Don’t talk about Kobe his ass kissing mob going tell you to shut the fuck up. And i am sick of all the Anti Bynum fans who claim to be Lakers fans . ANY basketball player can get hurt at any time Do you KOBE fans hear me. Stop using Bynum’s injury as an excuse not to pull for his success. Guys always wishing he gets hurt. Lakers have won 9 games and lost 1 and a few stupid knuckle heads fans want to trade for Dwight Howard what is he going to do to improve on 9-1. headed to our 3peat.

  • 242LakerFan

    Anna u should be writing all the post game reports.. Coming from ur No 1 fan…

  • 242LakerFan

    Anna when am i getting that date u promised if the lakers beat the celtics in the finals..

    that happened almost a year ago but u still havent paid up on ur promise..

  • scared to death

    she is sucking my dick ryt now bro..she said ur next..

  • rondo

    Scared to death) You are a slime ball with no class!

  • http://www.thebitterfan.com thebitterfan

    Everybody can’t help but to compare the two because:
    1. Kobe patterned his game after Jordan
    2. They played under the same system

    The only differences are:
    1. Jordan followed the system and Kobe most of the time is sselfish
    2. Jordan respected the chain of command and Kobe is arrogant
    3. Refer to comments above

    You dumb fuck!

    • rondo

      (bitterfan) you can’t talk to fans of KOBE they don’t hear you, they have they head to far up his ass to HEAR you. Don’t waste your time.