Heir'z Corner: Lakers Survive Behind Bryant's Heroics
This was really our first grind it out game all season that I can remember. It's not often that you label a game where both teams scored over 100 a "grind it out" type of contest, but in the 4th quarter fatigue definitely played a huge factor as both teams were exhausted from the up and down style from the first three quarters. It just so happened that we have arguably the best closer ever on our side.Vlad
- He shot the ball extremely well tonight. I knock his effort on defense sometimes and his lackadaisical decisions but there's no doubt our offense runs a lot smoother with him in the game. Final stat line: 12 points, 5-6 from the field, 2-2 from downtown, and 6 rebounds.Bynum/Gasol
- I was impressed with the way he was playing in the first half against Yao offensively, but anything he contributes on that end of the court cancels itself out if you don't bring enough toughness to match up with a player like Yao. Just when I was starting to give him props for obvious improvement he has a game like this against real competition; first a 2 rebound performance in 25 minutes and now 1 rebound in 27? The only time a guy can get 17 rebounds over you and it's no big deal is if it's a low scoring game, but both teams shot over 50%. As far as Pau, I wouldn't really say he had a weak game tonight since he didn't take many shots. He and Kobe both played 42 minutes and Kobe took 32 shots, so that explains why. We ran a lot of screen rolls with Kobe against Yao instead of going to Pau more consistently. That would've made more sense if Kobe was actually trying to get Yao in foul trouble, but he mostly took contested jump shots. Final stat lines: Bynum- 11 points, 1 rebound, 5-12 from the field, 5 fouls; Gasol- 11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3-9 from the field, 2 steals, 2 blocks.KB24
- In the first quarter Wafer lit him up pretty badly while he struggled to find his own shot. I'm not sure what made him so aggressive tonight; it was probably just the game plan. Even though he struggled for the most part he still got it done in the 4th quarter, scoring 11 of our last 13 points to seal the deal. That's what separates him from the rest, he can struggle all night long but when the spotlight hits that performer in him comes out. Final stat line: 33 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 13-32 from the field, 1-4 from three, 6-9 from the line.
- I was a little upset about how often he let Alston get to the rim and create for his teammates, but he's been logging a lot of minutes these last few weeks of course and put in another 39 tonight. Not to mention he has to go toe to toe with Parker tomorrow night. Don't worry, I feel for you, Fish. Final stat line: 8 points, 3-6 from the field, 3 assists, 0 turnovers.Bench
- Every player that came off the bench tonight was productive. Lamar was even better than I would've expected judging from his recent (not most recent) comments, but he logged in 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in 28 minutes of playing time. Powell's showing more and more confidence in that outside shot and if he keeps it up, he'll continue to get playing time, maybe even more. Trev did his thing as well. I've spoken so highly of him all year long I've run out of things to say.Final Thought
- This game was back and forth but we showed enough mental toughness to pull through. San Antonio will be a completely different challenge, though. They aren't the kind of team that we can beat if we only play the game for 28 minutes and then fold in the late going. Bynum always seems to play well against Duncan for some reason, so hopefully he can redeem himself tomorrow night. Tomorrow's game will probably be our biggest test to see where we rank in terms of contenders because having a better record than San Antonio doesn't mean we can beat them in a 7 game series.