By: Holly MacKenzie
Lakers won in Chi-town last night. I expected a blow-out. It’s funny how I get spoiled with a few good Laker wins and how lofty me expectations become in only a couple of short days. The game last night was a reality check, but it was nice to see the “other” guys step up. While I love Kobe scoring and I’m with Russ on his idea for the Lakers to just give the ball to him on every possession in MSG on Sunday, it is so satisfying to watch guys like Vujacic, Farmar, Vlad and of course Bynum play well.
Sean Williams was great in a start for New Jersey last night. He was active on both ends of the court and he finished with 8 blocks in the game as he played 42 minutes. Could Coach Frank maybe learn to keep him in the rotation? The Boone experiment was not the greatest of successes, but that probably guarantee’s him a starting spot for the next few games. This is how New Jersey looks to me, I can’t understand anything that they do anymore.
Sashaaaaaa. I loved the spirit of Vujacic when the Lakers first drafted him and I have been disappointed over his career so far, until this year. While Kobe has continuously praised his play, worth ethic and shooting over the years, I just was not sure if we would ever see it all come together. The season is still early, but Vujacic looks good. He looked especially great last night in Chicago.
Bynum’s putback of a Farmar miss was fantastic. Another game, another double-double for Mr. Bynum.
I will definitely be checking out the Raptors/Blazers game tonight as well as Phoenix/Dallas, Golden State/Minnesota, Boston/Detroit and Cleveland/New York. As I typed those out I realized how great this line-up is going to be. Let’s see what madness unfolds in the Garden, how the Pistons handle the Celts and whether the Suns can put together another impressive win. Can Portland do it again? How many points will the Warriors put up? I love this game.
Sacramento 106 New Jersey 101
It was a career-night for John Salmons and it paid off for the Kings as his 31 points helped Sacramento to a 106-101 victory over the Nets in New Jersey last night. While Salmons was solid for the Kings, his biggest play of the night was an assist on a three-pointer by Francisco Garcia with 15 seconds remaining in the game to clinch the victory for Sacramento. They survived a 36-point effort from Richard Jefferson and used a 10-1 run in the final minutes to take the lead and go on to the win. Before the three by Garcia the Nets had cut the lead to one, 100-99, but were too late to finish the Kings off. It was a close game throughout with neither team leading by more than nine points. Sacramento won despite being out-rebounded by the Nets 45-31 and that was due in large part to the 20 turnovers that the Nets committed, as compared to only 14 by the Kings. Garcia finished with 24 points off of the bench for Sacramento while the Kings got a 23-point, 10-rebound night from Brad Miller and 20 points from Ron Artest. Besides Jefferson’s big night, Sean Williams had 11 points, 7 rebounds and 8 blocked shots, Jason Kidd went for 11 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists while Vince Carter added 15.
LA Lakers 103 Chicago 91
Last night the fans in Chicago got to see the player they narrowly missed out on acquiring this offseason. After the way their season has started out for the Bulls, it has been Kobe Bryant’s name that has been chanted in the United Center earlier this season. After the 103-91 victory by the Lakers, Sasha Vujacic, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum should have had their names being called, as all three were instrumental in the victory. While the two teams were close the majority of the game, the Lakers started to pull away in the final period, but, the Bulls fought back and cut the Laker lead to three on a score by Aaron Gray. On a night where Bryant struggled, slowed by the groin injured suffered in a loss to Golden State last Friday, his teammates showed up and showed him it is not so bad to be in LA after all. Once the LA lead was cut to three, they went on an 11-point run to stretch it back to 14 points and the Bulls were helpless from there. While Chicago shot better than the Lakers (48%-43%), they were out-rebounded 52-41 and they gave up 17 offensive boards. They also committed 18 turnovers, double the nine that were committed by Los Angeles. While Bryant finished with 18 points, Lamar Odom had 16 points and 17 rebounds, Vujacic dropped 19 off of the bench and Andrew Bynum had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Luol Deng finished with a game-high 26 points in the loss as Kirk Hinrich scored 17 points and dished 8 assists and Andres Nocioni added 14 off of the bench.
Toronto 80 LA Clippers 77
Trailing 49-41 at the half, the Toronto Raptors used a third quarter where they outscored the LA Clippers 24-11 to take control of the game entering the fourth. They were up by a score of 71-62 but, it was in the second half of the final quarter that the Clippers got their game together and put together a push that cut that lead to only two. The score was 77-75 on a long jumper from Richie Frahm with 26 seconds on the clock. Jose Calderon returned the favor for the Raptors, taking the ball to the hoop and getting the layup to go, with nine seconds remaining. On the Clippers next possession, they struggled to get the ball in bounds and when they did, Chris Kaman turned it over and the Raptors went on to grab the victory. The Clippers were held to only 25% shooting in the second half of the game as the Raptors came from behind to steal the victory on the road. Toronto shot only 37% for the game, but they committed just six turnovers as compared to the 15 committed by the Clippers. Chris Bosh had 24 points and 9 rebounds to lead the Raptors, Jamario Moon scored 16 points and blocked three shots and Jose Calderon had 12 points and 9 assists. Chris Kaman had 12 points and 16 rebounds in the loss while Corey Maggette scored 22 and Frahm added 13.