The thousand watt smile — it’s been awhile since Lamar Odom’s flashed his infectious grin for everyone, but after nailing a fourth shot from downtown towards the end of the game, how could he hide his delight? Lamar was just one of six Lakers who scored in double figures tonight and on a very rare occasion, had single digit rebounds and, what’s this? Zero assists? Yes, this is a rarity, but for a change, Lamar was on the receiving end of passes from assist leader of the evening, Kobe Bryant.
Kobe’s career high in assists for one game is 15 and tonight he passed out 13 dimes. He had seven assists before he even scored his first points on two free throws with just under three minutes left in the first quarter. He tossed numerous, perfectly-timed lobs to Andrew Bynum; in an ode to Showtime, threw a behind-the-back pass to Lamar for his first three-pointer of the game and another behind the back assist, off a Jordan Farmar pass in transition, that was met by a running Pau Gasol who dunked (Hooray, Pau dunked!) and was rewarded with an and-1, which he made.
By halftime, the Lakers had a ten-point lead, with Pau and Andrew leading the way with 11 points apiece.
Kobe didn’t even hit his first field goal until the second quarter — a three-pointer that, upon hitting the net, had him smiling the entire way to the Wolves’ basket. He ended with 22 points to go with the baker’s dozen of assists, not to mention his 4 steals. He did have 5 turnovers, which is never good but it’s obvious his hand injury still plagues him. He played the part of facilitator tonight and, despite the excitement he ensues in everyone who watches his myriad of scoring killer instincts, his court vision, orchestration and execution is, quite simply, an even greater sight to behold. One nod of his head to the right, one point of his finger to the left and suddenly, everyone is in optimum scoring position.
Pau ended the evening with 17 points on 7-13 shooting, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Despite suffering from tonsillitis, he was as active as he’s ever been. He appeared noticeably alert today, on offense as well as on defense, and he had the stat line to show for it.
Even the bench got in on the action with Lamar leading the way and Jordan Farmar, who looked much more efficient with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and zero turnovers. The reserves were effective this evening, contributing 42 points.
The downside to this win was the departure of Andrew Bynum in the beginning of the 2nd half. Shortly after the third quarter began, Lamar subbed in and Andrew gingerly walked to the locker room followed by Gary Vitti. It’s never a good sign when someone, especially Andrew, leaves in the middle of the game followed by Gary Vitti. It’s been reported he has a strained Achilles to be re-assessed on Saturday morning.
It was a great win by a very active, very efficient Lakers team tonight, but we hold our breath for word on Andrew… again.
Pre-game Thoughts: 5-game win streak, if you please…. It’ll be great to see Kurt Rambis again.
Half-time Thoughts: Lakers leading 59-49 and shooting 51%!
Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: D-Fish, whose shot just wasn’t there for him tonight. Also, whoever it is that’s throwing curses at Andrew Bynum — leave our center alone!
Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: Kobe Bryant, who didn’t have a great shooting by with 13 assists, sure helped everyone on the team make up for it.