The Starting Five
Fisher, Kobe, Odom, Cook, and Kwame started for the consecutive game. Kwame left early with a sprained knee and ankle, but not before a hot start with 2 points, 2 boards, and an assist. Cook gets the award for biggest waste on the starting five. Brian finished with 5 points and assist on a scoreless night. Odom came back to Earth a bit with 9 and 6, but he played solid D, had two steals and two blocks. He used his length effectively tonight to tip balls. I liked what I saw. Fisher's boxscore looks shabby, but he played competently. Kobe had 18-5-3 and 3 steals along with his usual solid offensive effort. Most importantly, he got some rest.
The Pine Riders
73 points for the Bench Mob! Leading the way were Bynum (14/10), Farmar (14/8), and Mihm (11/7). Radmanovic and Vujacic combined to hit all five of their 3pt attempts. Mo Evans had seven points. The second unit scored in bunches, did just enough defensively against a clearly overmatched team.
What did I like?
LA blew a bad team out of the building. When you get outscored 61-32 over a half of basketball, you do not belong on the same court with your opponent. LA harassed Chicago into shooting 35% on FGs, 25% on threes, and 67% on FTs with 19 Turnovers. That's how you play an inferior team. Oh, and that Walton-Farmar-Mihm play? Amazing.
What did I dislike?
A piss poor offensive performance in the first half and 21 Turnovers for the game show that LA is still prone to sloppiness. LA's main ballhandlers (Fisher, Kobe, Odom) had 5 assists compared to 9 TOs. That's terrible.
No Turiaf in the starting lineup and now no Kwamba. I am pleased with the way the Lakers responded to a challenge, but as injuries threaten to mount, the bench will be asked to play heavy minutes. Here's hoping Kwame and Turiaf return quickly. I'm loving the way this team is gelling right now. At 6-3, Los Angeles is trending toward 55 wins right now.