The Starting Five
Kwame sat with bursitis in his heel (I think) so Chris Mihm took the floor with Turiaf, Walton, Kobe, and Fisher. Mihm struggled in the first before finishing with 8/6, looked okay running the floor, which is key as he recovers from ankle surgery. Fisher struggled on D a bit, repeatedly getting caught on screens, finished with 9/3/1. Kobe was amazing with 28/7/6 and 3 blocks. Walton's D was poor to very poor, but he passed incredibly well, finishing with 7/5/4. Turiaf looked great on offense and worked on the glass, but his D was spotty outside the post area. He had 15 and 7. Overall, energy was solid and help D was good. The problem was people straying too far from their own assignments.
The Pine Riders
Andrew Bynum was a saint, with 8 points and 13 boards. He added solid D, too, and great help D. Farmar gets the runner-up for biggest contribution off the bench, but he only played half a game. With 11/3/3 and 2 steals, people will only remember his speed and aggressiveness offensively, but he was one of the worst defenders on the court tonight. He was beaten off the dribble three times at least (twice by Bobby Jackson!), was caught in at least two screens, and generally looked terrible. Sasha played an okay game despite one mental lapse. Critt scores an Incomplete. Vlad Radmanovic gets the beloved Jeckyll&Hyde award. 11 points and 2 steals compared to allowing a red hot Peja Stojakovic to shoot three consecutive uncontested three-pointers in a span of 2 minutes, which put the game out of reach.
What did I like?
Put a guy on Peja and the Lakers are in this game to the end despite 21 assists from Chris Paul. LA's offense is potent and Kobe was lights out. Low post D for LA was fantastic.
What did I dislike?
Simply asinine to leave Peja open after he came out red hot. 5-8 doesn't make you cover him on threes? How about 6-9, 7-10? No? How about 10-13? Peja hit his last 5 threes and no one covered him on any of them. A beautiful effort wasted by Walton and Vlad's inability to play man-to-man D.
Injuries surface and LA struggles in the second half. Sounds like last season, but we still haven't seen Odom on the floor. This is a loss that should hurt, but this is probably yet another playoff team LA faced tonight. Spirit dampened, but I'm still positive about LA's prospects.