“I was so tired,” Andrew Bynum told Stu Lantz in a post-game interview. “I thought I was gonna have a bad game.”

If tonight’s showing is a reflection of “tired,” let’s hope Andrew is completely exhausted when the playoffs begin.

With 21 points on 9-14 shooting, in addition to 12 rebounds, and the only Laker who shot perfectly from the free throw line, Andrew played with a different kind of attitude today. Actually, he just had an attitude about him today, rebounding on both sides of the court, never giving up on his missed shot attempts, and dunking the living lights out of Arco Arena.

After scoring the Lakers’ first seven points of the game, it was obvious Andrew had come to play tonight, and not just to score on feeds from his teammates. He was active everywhere, manning the offensive glass (5), and refusing to give up possessions until they had scored. He forbade second chance points for the Kings with his seven defensive boards and even collected two blocks for a well-rounded evening.

And the greatest stat of all for Andrew? ONE turnover, an excellent recovery from the eight that must have haunted him from last night against Warriors.

In all, the Lakers had only nine turnovers, with Kobe Bryant collecting the most with just three, a third of what he collected last night. Instead of throwing the ball around carelessly against one of the youngest and most energetic teams in the league, the Lakers threw crisp passes to each other, handing out 23 assists on 42 made field goals, a few on very impressive lobs.

Pau Gasol had one of his most efficient games in a long while, with 28 points on 12-14 from the field, and it seems the spring in his step has resurfaced. This was apparent on one fast break sequence that implored a running Pau to send a no-look pass to a sprinting Shannon Brown, who finished with an emphatic one-handed dunk that sent the crowd, Lakers and Kings fans alike, into a frenzy.

Kobe Bryant led all scores with 30 points, collected nine rebounds and handed out seven assists. He shot 10-26, which is just under 40%, but he appeared lighter on his feet than in recent games, he’s more active on defense and his greatest contribution of all? Directing the offense before him. If there were stats kept on the assists before the assists, Kobe would probably be one of the leaders.

Lamar Odom, always a quiet statistical collector, was a significant presence on the floor, as always. With 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists, he had zero turnovers and a game’s worth of CandyMan smiles. When Odom plays relaxed but focused basketball, there’s no outplaying him.

Even Sasha got in on the game with his six points, attacking the rim as well as shooting from the perimeter.

This is what Lakers championship basketball should look like — energetic and confident, with deliberate ball movement, attention to detail on both sides of the court, and well-executed possessions (the 10 missed free throws aside, of course, a stat that remains a mysterious mess of late). If the Lakers can play with this amount of focus and purpose in the next fourteen games, they’ll be as ready to battle for that second title as they were fighting for the first one.

Pre-game Thoughts: How about avoiding a double-digit turnover total? Or, maybe just no more than 15?

Half-time Thoughts: 49-48, Lakers gave the Kings confidence by allowing a 16-3 run in the 2nd quarter. Hopefully, that’s the only run they allow.

Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: Jordan Farmar, who stopped doing what had made him so successful before this road trip; leading the second unit, running the offense, and attacking the basket with his quickness. Jordan should know how short Phil keeps his leash these days, even on a veteran like Pau Gasol.

Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: Kobe did what Kobe does, but tonight’s honorable mentions go to the Laker big men, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, who played to their advantages. They combined for 49 points, 24 rebounds and six assists.

  • JQ

    I actually look forward to reading post game articles now. Thanks Anna!

  • Pac Div

    Fuk the Queens! Go Lakers!

  • KanA

    bench = horrible…

    • WifelovesLuke

      No worries, dude. Phil normaly goes to an 8 man rotation anyways.

  • Drake Ramoray

    Does anyone else not notice how bad Shannon Bown is playing?????? The guy freakin sucks!!!! When he drives to the basket he has no control and just flings it up. He turned the ball over like three or four times just dribbling way toooooooo much. Please sit his ass!!!!!!!!!

    • WifelovesLuke

      So you are off of the Shannon Brown bandwagon already? That was quick!

  • Drake Ramoray

    F uck Shannon Brown!!!

  • Drake Ramoray

    He’s not a good basketball player! He’s just athletic and fast! He can’t shoot a lick and can’t dribble and is slow with his passes. He plays too much one on one and takes bad shots!!!! F UCK it’s annoying!!!!

    • expo

      You complain about Shannon before Jordans non-productive a$$??? Even if Shannon only gets two points atleast he gives a way better effort than Jordan, who seems to have forgotten how to play basketball!!

      • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

        Jordan and Shannon – I don’t know what’s wrong with either of them. They picked a fine time to start playing senselessly…geez!

        • airkobe

          you don’t expect every laker play good every night co’z they are not an all star team from point guard to center. shanon, farmar supposed to be a role player and the rest of the bench..as long as kobe and the twins perform every night as well as ron’s defense and lamars versatility we’re all good. it is up to PJ about the rest if he play them more minutes base on ther performance..

          • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

            I don’t expect them to dominate the game every night. Tehre are other ways to play well. It doesn’t have to be about getting the most anything, points, assists, rebounds, etc. But as role players on a championship team, they need to play intelligently. Playing well isn’t new to Jordan and Shannon. They’ve done it before.

          • airkobe

            I’ll take a bad night from farmar and brown or any other bench player somebody can fill up their shoe, but a bad night from kobe n the twins can cost trouble to them…

  • Vk2

    what is this complain ville? start focusing on the postive and not the negative esp. when lakers won the bleeping game!

    Big fella was going after rebounds hard tonight, and if he is doing this on the second night of back to back, imagine how beastly he will be in the playoffs with 2-4 days break?
    Anyhow great game by the lakers.

    • WifelovesLuke

      Your cup must be half full!

  • http://www.myspace.com/guszo gus26

    sasha at the point!!!.. did anyone notice they actually ran the triangle with sasha out there… brown should strictly play reserve SG mins… he can’t handle the ball… but we need is slashing and dynamic plays… farmar is just not playing smart and right now sasha IS.. run sasha at the point more and watch his play improve more and more… all that he is missing right now is confidence and he might have gained a ton of it last night!!

    • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

      we need everyone who comes off the bench to play the right way. it doesn’t take a lot to screw up a game, even for a defending champ.

  • rondo

    Andrew is becoming a awesome basketball player. In about a month watch all the bandwagon people jump on the Bynum band wagon.

    • ab4sure

      So true. Bynum bashers will never face up to the fact they were wrong about him. They will just change their name and say I never wanted to trade Bynum in the first place.

    • hello world

      i did not doubt him, i saw that he just lacked effort in his games. he has shown effort and if he is telling the truth then he truly does have passion to do well on both ends not just getting his touches. i like this new AB and hope it spreads to the ones who aren’t playing as hard. Im sayin it now! i like andrew bynum and i will no matter what happens. he is one of the last true centers.

    • leo

      andrew dominated because he was guarded by Spencer (soft azz redneck) hawes and other undersized, inexperienced “bigs”….lets see bynum play big in games vs dwight, duncan, shaq, etc b4 we “jump on the bandwagon”…..and kobe is sucha ball hog…but o wells kobe is kobe

      • airkobe

        you can’t change the game! ball hogging makes jordan, lebron, and kobe a superstar co’z if you got paid a million bucks you gotta work on it…”put that money on the bank” but if you try to track kobe’s pass every game he might have 8-10 assist if his team mates knocks open shot…

        • http://www.facebook.com/thejahjah Green Flannel

          im not on the bandwagon. i am a true fan who supports the success of all the Lakers and that is what i want to see, him play well against opponents that aren’t soft. He is getting into the playoff mode where no matter what he is going to play hard. love it!

  • Cody

    I’m posting this on all the articles just to tell every LAKER fan to pull there head out today. It’s st. patricks day today and every LAKER fan better not wear green. That is a fagtics fan holiday. Just remember those dumb ass shirts NBA.com made last year with the green shirt with a LAKERS logo on it. 100% disrespect.

    • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

      Real Laker fans wear purple and gold on St. Patty’s Day, huh Cody? =)

      • http://www.facebook.com/thejahjah Green Flannel

        I DID!

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