Game Notes: Lakers at Kings
The making of a Kobe triple-double.
by Rudy Raya
It’s almost an hour before the game and the lower level is almost packed entirely with Lakers’ fans drenched in yellow and purple. One of the greatest rivalries out west is rehashed tonight as the Sacramento Kings reluctantly welcome the visiting Los Angeles Lakers. Though the Kings are far removed from their glory days, the disdain for their southern brethren is still intact. This will be the first of four encounters between the Pacific Division foes, and a chance for the Kings to show that their early 3-1 record is for real.
Coach Phil Jackson came out of the locker room to greet a group of eagerly awaiting reporters, but between the banging of last-minute camera equipment and the heavy breathing suits that surrounded me, my recorder was severely muffled. Outside of the Lakers’ locker room, I caught up with Derek Fisher and got his view on the young Kings and dealing with their talented leader, Tyreke Evans.
SLAM: How do you think the Kings, with all their added height, can match up with your team?
Derek Fisher: I’ll find out tonight. I’ve only watched them a little bit early in the season, it seems like they have a lot of good young talent, it’s just a matter of cultivating it and the guys working hard in the group
SLAM: What do you think a young team like this needs to do in order to become a cohesive unit?
DF: Working hard and holding everybody accountable for working hard. I think that’s the formula for a young team as well as veteran team, you can’t get around putting the time into being good.
SLAM: How do you plan to deal with Tyreke Evans? Who’s going to take on the job or will it be a group effort?
DF: I’m sure a number of guys will get a look at him, he’s an attacking player, great ball handler and has the ability to get wherever on the floor he wants to get to. He’s coming off a great rookie season, and so far he’s off to a good start as well.
· After not attending a King’s game in quite some time, it’s evident that they are in desperate need a new arena. The roof is falling apart and the visiting team’s dressing room looks with a leaky attic.
· Somebody yelled out “go Kobe!” in the middle of the national anthem and the crowd went wild. California Love.
· It’s pretty easy to point out the Kings’ fans in tonight’s crowd, they are the ones not wearing any kind of team memorabilia.
· Kobe comes out quick, opening the game with an almost uncontested three-pointer in the face of Tyreke Evans.
· Beno is first to score for the Kings with an easy two.
· Kobe starts off 2-2 from three, reminding the city of Sacramento why it hates this man so much.
· During the timeout, present, but soon to be former, Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger was shown on the jumbotron and received more boos than even Kobe.
· DeMarcus Cousins lets his presence be known with an early dunk.
· The Lakers are hitting at will.
· DeMarcus has one of the smoothest free-throw deliveries of any non-European big man.
· It wasn’t looking good early, but the Kings are currently trading shots with L.A., though they trail 22-17.
· Landry is looking like a 7-footer right now, cashing in on open shots and collecting rebounds under the Lakers’ big men.
· Tyreke shows off his new-found jumper with his second bucket of the game.
· I’ve always wondered what the butterfly crown thing on Kobe’s arm was, and I still don’t know.
· Tyreke closes out the quarter with a nice lay-up but seems to get injured after deflecting a pass and drawing a foul from Lamar Odom.
· The Kings don’t look intimidated by the Lakers whatsoever, trading baskets in a rather high-scoring first quarter. Lakers lead 35-34.
· Beno opens up the second quarter with an easy two.
· Tyreke is still on the bench to start the second quarter, greasing his wheels while stretching with something that resembles and elastic timing belt.
· If Luther Head made a workout video, I’d buy it. By the way, Beno’s stop and pop is a thing of beauty.
· The Kings are putting up points no matter the line-up for either team. Kings up, 43-38.
· Tyreke and Kobe re-enter the game at the exact same time. What a coincidence.
· Kobe is murdering from three, drawing a foul for the four-point play. But he follows it up with his first miss from outside; he is indeed human.
· TV timeouts are the worst!
· Pau’s defense is relentless down low and he isn’t allowing anything near the basket, regardless of how many offensive rebounds the Kings can pull down.
· Kings’ help defense is allowing countless open shots.
· Lakers come out of the timeout with a nice alley-oop to Lamar Odom.
· Lakers have capitalized off of poor Sacramento shooting, taking the lead, 53-46.
· Kobe throws down a nasty alley-oop from Sacramento native Matt Barnes.
· Tyreke drives the lane and puts in an up and around layup behind Gasol’s back. I don’t even know if that’s a valid description, you have to see it to understand it.
· Kobe quietly has 21 points before the end of the quarter as the Lakers hold on strong to a 9-point lead at the half.
· The Lakers have been unrelenting, and though Kings held on early, the Lakers have shown their championship strut and matched their first-quarter output. The Kings have had strong contributions from everybody they have put on the floor, but even with few mistakes early on, the Lakers have managed to take advantage of everything they’ve been given. The young kings have looked powerful, but their eagerness and intensity have resulted in ticky-tack fouls and wide-open misses.