Heir'z Corner: Lakers Get "Road Kill" Win in Phoenix
I think we all expected a more exciting and competitive game tonight. Then again, when you're as good as we are wins like this shouldn't be all that surprising, right? We closed the first quarter strongly after Phoenix got it going and from there on out, we just kept delivering blow after blow and watched them lay on the ropes and not fight back.
- It's amazing how much better we are when he's knocking down his shots and more importantly, playing with confidence. I think he had the same feeling we all did that if he didn't show up in a big game like this, Phil would probably yank him. Well thanks to this performance he'll probably be off the hook if he has an occasional bad shooting night during these next 10-12 games. There isn't much to say about his play tonight, other than he flat out got it done. His production made up for Pau's lackluster offensive night. Final stat line: 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5-5 from three, 2 steals.Bynum/Gasol
- Neither one had a night to remember in a big game; Bynum especially saw what it'll be like in the playoffs against a tough big man. He should've been a little more aggressive when he had the ball against Shaq in the post and tried to get him into foul trouble. Had that happened, he probably would've been on the court a lot more and wouldn't have had to foul Shaq as much on the defensive end. It's all good, though. He's got 3 more games to bring something to the table. As for Pau, it's amazing that we were able to win this game by double figures with him providing almost no offensive relief. In his defense, though, Bynum's foul trouble resulted in him doing a lot of switching between PF and C, so considering those two roles in the triangle is completely different, his struggles are somewhat understandable. Not to mention the fact that he would've received more outside touches had Bynum established himself in the post against Shaq. Still, I like the fact that he moved the ball and found the open man. Final stat lines: Bynum- 10 points, 5-8 from the field, 7 rebounds. Gasol- 4 points, 2-8 from the field, 9 rebounds, 9 assists.KB24
- Again, the fact that one of our best players can struggle and we still win the game by double figures says a lot about this team. I think Kobe's biggest problem tonight was that he played a little overexcited. In the past the burden has been on him to get us off to decent starts in big games, but the team has grown tremendously since then so that's no longer needed from him. I think the best thing for him to have done was to be a little more patient when he got the ball instead of going for home runs. Him playing under control means the team plays under control and gives them confidence since he's showing that he trusts them to get the job done. Bell did a respectable job at times on defense and even when Kobe was able to go around him, the help defense was there to discourage an easy shot. If establishing Kobe on offense was one of our top priorities, he should've been in the post more against Bell. It also would've opened a lot of things up on offense if we ran some screen roll for him against Shaq to get him in foul trouble. Phoenix most likely would've countered with trapping Kobe on the screen, but Vlad's hot shooting would've canceled that out. ;) Final stat line: 24 points, 8-23 from the field, 1-5 from three, 7-9 from the line, 5 rebounds, 3 assists.Fish
- Nash is starting to show his age, his numbers are dropping at a dramatic rate this season, but tonight his struggles had a lot to do with Derek's feistiness. I would've liked to have seen us go at Nash more with Fish just to make him feel pressure that he's gonna have to get it done on defense for his team to beat us, but we have so many weapons it's impossible to decide who to go to at the right time. Fish still hit some big shots during critical stretches when we went on runs, though. Final stat line: 9 points, 3-9 from the field, 4 assists.
- Just about everyone who played significant minutes tonight off the bench had a big role in us picking up this win. 32 minutes for Odom, 22 for both Ariza and Farmar, and 17 for Sasha. Sasha ended up being the only player to not score in double figures. That's not entirely surprising, considering he didn't attempt a single three. Call me stupid, but maybe horrific images of Trevor's face popped up in his head whenever he had the ball. :P It's literally impossible for us to lose when our bench produces like this.Final Thought
- Wins like this one solidify respect and your identity around the league. Everyone was watching and we delivered on the road. Defending Western Conference Champs or not, that's impressive. That dude who wrote this article is starting to look more and more like a genius everyday: http://therealkobebryant.com/forum/view ... f=22&t=431