In the first game without Andrew Bynum, whose absence can last up to two weeks (so far as everyone has been told), the Lakers started lethargically on the floor in the first quarter before finally picking up their game in the second quarter.

On this Noche Latina at Staples, L.A.’s favorite Spanish representative, Pau Gasol, dominated quickly and accurately inside. Pau’s stroke of late has looked exceptionally smooth. He’s going at the basket strong, his mid-range jumper looks sharp as can be and even his free throws are finding their way into the hoop. Finishing the night off with 28 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and one block, Pau appears back to his usual, quiet dominating self. With the absence of Andrew for the next couple of weeks (hopefully no more than that), the quality of Pau’s time on the floor needs to be as efficient and pristine (minus the four turnovers) as it was tonight.

Kobe Bryant, who for the last few games has taken on the role of facilitator, locked in offensively in the first half tonight. His 3-point shooting has been somewhat M.I.A. since his return from injury, but tonight he launched and hit three 3-pointers in a row without breaking a stride. With 24 points on 10-17 shooting, not to mention four assists and three rebounds, Kobe’s obviously aware of what he needs to contribute without another scorer like Andrew on the floor.

Ron Artest chipped in 16 points on a rare, but welcome, offensive effort of 7-10, plus three steals.

Lamar Odom wasn’t as involved offensively as Andrew’s absence usually dictates, but his 13 rebounds and six assists are what make him valuable to this team.

The Lakers played excellent in all facets of their game in the first half.

Their defense was active, ball movement was intentional and crisp, and there was a visible fire in them, as if they wanted to show everyone who ever developed a doubt when Andrew left the game on Friday night, that they would not lose a step. They held the Wizards to only 33 points before halftime and had only five turnovers. When the third quarter began, however, it was as if a completely new team checked in.

The Lakers were outscored by the Wizards, 59-40 in the second half; the same Wizards who were riding a 10-game losing streak coming into tonight. It took the home team three minutes before scoring their first field goal in the fourth quarter on a Shannon Brown 3-pointer. And quicker than Gilbert Arenas can say, “Draw your weapons,“ a 25-point lead soon turned into just eight before that buzzer finally sounded.

In his post-game press conference, even through the radio, it was easy to sense Phil Jackson’s annoyance. Aside from his concerns about bench play and Andrew’s return, the one factor that troubles him most is something he shouldn’t even have to worry about; the Lakers sustaining EFFORT for an entire game.

There are 12 games left before the post-season. Of all the worries a coach could have about his team, his Championship team, his title-defending team, sustaining effort should not be one of them.

Pre-game Thoughts: No Andrew tonight, but it should be fine. There’s something to be said about familiar territory. Lamar should have a big game tonight.

Half-time Thoughts: 59-33 Wow! At this rate, tacos are guaranteed! Author’s Note: I was at the game, and when you’re there, even though the win matters the most…you still want the tacos. Besides, keeping the opponent under 100 points is never a bad thing.

Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: Every Laker who played in the second half! You don’t allow the opponent to score just 33 points in the first half and then let them go off for 59 points after halftime!

Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant who, together, shot 58% from the field to combine for 52 points! And Pau on free throws? 12-14!

  • Marwan Marzina

    Great post Anna, keep it up!

  • Drake Ramoray

    Their defense was active, ball movement was intentional and crisp, and there was a visible fire in them, as if they wanted to show everyone who ever developed a doubt when Andrew left the game on Friday night, that they would not lose a step…………Please correct this statement!!!!!!!!!!
    ————-Bynum clogs the lane all the time and holds the ball way too long and always demands the ball in the post. That in turn slows down the ball movement and he’s not a good passer from the low post like how Shaq use to be so the offense becomes stagnant. He has problems with his footwork and sometimes looks off balanced when he shoots. The reason why ball movement was intentional and crisp tonight was because Bynum wasn’t playing. The Lakers offense runs like a fine oiled machinery when Bynum’s not playing with the first unit. Their not showing anyone that they would lose a step without Bynum! They’re just naturally playing better in a smooth flowing offense and that’s what the offense is like when baby Bynum is out of the game! This injury is a blessing in disguise because Pau gets more touches and will put up bigger numbers and the more physical and rebounding machine Odom will play all of baby Bynum’s minutes and be more productive with it. Odom’s stat line – 4 pts 13 rebounds and 6 assists. I’ll take that anyday over Bynum needing to score 20 points and grabbing 6 rebounds just to feel like he’s contributing. With Artest, Gasol, and Kobe all being great scores, the last thing we need is a 7 foot injury prone center demanding the ball and needing to score 20 points just so he can play hard. Phil says if the kid doesn’t score, he doesn’t play hard and loses interest in the and he doesn’t play defense (which he doesn’t anyways even when he’s scoring), and that will in turn slow down his development! F uck Bynum! I’ll take an unselfish team player like Odom who tries to create for everyone else. He knows his roll, rebound, play defense, and create for his teammates, all the while still scoring when he needs to! Please TRADE BYNUM IN THE OFFSEASON!

    • LC09

      u are a dumb mofo…lmao trade bynum?? hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha wait wait wait hahahahahahahahaha..pass me da watever da f uk u smokin lol.. bynum doesnt always play well but who does.. get of his nuts man.. stfu wit stupid as s trades..i tho u were smarter than this lmao

      • Drake Ramoray

        Well ur mom was smokin my pole last nite so if u want sum, cum get sum!!! TRADE BYNUM!!!!! TRADE BYNUM!!!!! TRADE BYNUM!!!!! SORRY I DIDN’T STFU!!!!!! TRADE BYNUM!!!!! And stop wit the ebonics lingo. I get it, ur tryin to be ghetto right! I’ll pass u da wateva u wunt u mofo, oh I mean Mother F ucker right? Sorry wit my english. I dropped out of junior high. I wunt wat u got cause u so funny!!!

        • Drake Ramoray

          WARNING: LCo9 like to masturbate to midget wrestling. He likes it up da butt!

          • Drake Ramoray

            LCo9 like to sits at home wit hiz mom on Saturday nites watching America’s Funniest Home Vidoes. ROFLAMO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my got i can go all day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Drake Ramoray

            Keep talkin ur ish, I ain’t got no job so I got all day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • LC09


      • MASMIK

        I don’t know about trade Bynum but he really does slow down the offense for us. Every time the ball goes to him the offense stops. I wouldn’t trade a legit 7 footer cuz its hard to come across those in the league now, but I would like to have him come off the bench and run with the younger squad. He would slow down the pace for the second unit but the second unit isnt playing at a consistant level anyway. Maybe its time for a change. Not a change in the roster just move his lazy ass down the the bench mob.

        • Eidraq

          i agree with that…bynum is better served coming from the bench where he can demand the ball more from brown and farmar (who need someone other than ea other to pass the love ball around to)

        • Eidraq

          bench is the plus minus column, brown was -11 and farmar was -14..not getting the job done

          • LC09

            either way startin or bench u still want em on da team..only retards wud say to trade him now lmao wtf

  • airkobe

    the game became boring in the 2nd half when kobe decided not to be aggressive and don’t take a shot..the game become slower until the 28 points lead goes down to 7. noticed if kobe gets aggressive in the first half 59-33 halftime scores…

    • Marwan Marzina

      So now YOU WANT HIM to take a shot? WOW. Talk about bipolar here people.
      I love Lakers as much as the next person, but you people have to make up your mind. First it was “Kobe stop shooting so much, pass more”, then it was “Kobe pass less, shoot more” then it was “Shoot less” and now its “Shoot more?” WOW.
      He took 17 shots and with those 17 he made 10 of them and scored 24. If he can take less shots and be as productive as taking alot of shots then so be it. No need for him to take more shots for the one period you people want him to and frustrating Pau at the same time.
      Now I’m not taking a jab at you fans, I want entertainment too but at the same time, you have to think about the sacrifices taken for the sake of the team’s achievements and if taking less shots is one of them, then so be it. No need to kill the team chemistry for the sake of the fans that are going through the “take more shots” phase.
      I’m sorry if any of you got offended, it wasn’t mean offensive in any way. I was just trying to get my message across that many of you wish for things that contradict what you earlier wished for. It gets annoying to read everytime.

      • lker10

        I agree. Although i dont think kobe has to take a lot of shots to be EFFECTIVE. If he can get to the free throw line on a nightly basis then hell be even more efficient; for the most part kobe does but i dont even remember him at the line tonight. definitely would have helped keep the wizards at bay and provided more offense. Least we won though but man are the wiz. pathetic now. i hate those games against scrub teams, bring on the road trip….

  • Drake Ramoray

    LCo9 are you and Kristen cool?

    • Drake Ramoray

      TRADE BYNUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • Drake Ramoray

    Hey LCo9, you STFU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lmao!!!!! roflao!!!!! roflmao!!!!! rofwiturmomlmao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Drake Ramoray

    Roses are red violets are red, LCo9 likes to give head!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

  • 242LakerFan

    Why do they let juvenile delinquents on this site?
    Anna, another nice recap. You do a very thorough job.
    I apologize for the puerile sensibilities of certain posters named after fish who make a living sucking the crap off sharks, but that’s what you get for not having a minimum IQ requirement for joining this site.
    Now I admit that I fell asleep on this game around halftime, so I was wondering whey the final score was so close. It sounds like Phil and Kobe were trying to see what the bench could really do. Having this game so well in hand gave them the luxury of doing that. For Kobe to not take a shot in a half, there has to have been some plan behind it.
    They can’t be too happy with the results, but I’ll bet Phil has a better idea now of just how he’s going to shorten his rotation for the Playoffs.

    • Drake Ramoray

      Shut up fat boy!

      • Drake Ramoray

        FYI: Kissing Anna’s butt about the article is not gonna get you a job.

      • Anna Gonda

        What IS your problem Mr. Named After A Fictional Character played by another Fictional Character on FRIENDS?

        • 242LakerFan

          Fat boy. That really hurt. I may never recover from that one.
          Anna, don’t encourage it. If we ignore it, it might just go away.

        • Drake Ramoray

          I have no problem, just Rush Hour!

          The episode where Ross and Rachel breakup after he cheated is probably my favorite!

  • rudy t.

    >i have always been a very sentimental fan. i’m the same guy who said “i’m gonna miss brian cook and maurice evans. :( trevor ariza better be worth it. :(“. i’m also the same guy who kept believing in chris mihm, holding onto his youtube highlights for hopes of a resurgence.
    >now that andrew is again out of commission, i can’t help but miss RONNIE TURIAF. :( i miss his energy. his contagious zeal for the team. i miss how he was the consummate role player while he was here.
    >i love sasha vujacic. i do. i like his work ethic and how he just loves competing. unfortunately, i can’t help but weigh his contributions to the team against ronnie’s potential contributions. remember these guys were both free agents at the time and it just so happened that management felt vujacic was the more crucial piece.

  • airkobe
    this is how I missed ronnie too. he don’t disappoint kobe. he finished it with a jam.

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