Yes, Dwight drained a 22-footer from the corner, a spot he designates as “his” during practice, as the Lakers closed out an incredibly efficient 52% night from behind the arc on the way to a 122-103 W over the Denver Nuggets at Staples.
On a night where Dwight exploded for 16 in the first quarter, the expectations for a breakout D12 game grew steadily as the Friday night crowd looked to shake off the Pacers nightmare. He ended the night with 28 points and 20 rebounds, clearly benefiting from the time off and practice.
But, oddly enough, Dwight’s first 20-20 game in purple in gold wasn’t the story of the night.
Howard’s early work in the paint paid dividends and forced the Nuggets to collapse their defense. The 3-point line couldn’t have seemed closer, especially for the bench. It started slowly. Kobe found MWP on the wing and he patiently measured the shot. He peered at the ball like Byron Scott or Michael Cooper and let it fly. Swish. Darius Morris caught a pass from Pau and made another. Swish.
Then, Antawn Jamison joined the parade from distance with two in a row off of the bench, and he poured it on from there. He drained 5-10 from beyond, an exclamation point of why the Lakers spared the veteran’s minimum for his services. Jamison’s 33 points put him on a list with Shaq, Terry Teagle, and Sedale Threatt, along with a host of other Lakers’ reserves scoring 30 in a game. Antawn’s shooting display brought back visions of his time with GSW, specifically as he walked into a rhythm three to stretch the lead to 113-92 with 6:51 to go in the 4th.
Not to be outdone, Jodie Meeks rattled off 5-straight of his 7 threes for 21 points, completing the 61-point burst from the second unit. Kobe and Pau sat back and let the bench take over, splitting 16 of the team’s 33 total assists between them. Duhon also chipped in 8 dimes, which wasn’t too difficult as the Lakers shot 57% from the field, a far cry from the 37% they clanked from the field on Tuesday.
The Lakers performance from the field demonstrated the ideal of Showtime 2, the D’Antoni offense. Although he stated in his introductory presser that they didn’t throw the ball into the post in Phoenix, Mike D never had anyone like Dwight. Explosive dunks, including a one-handed put back slam off of his own barely missed one-handed put back, reminds defenses that a Dwight-focused offense makes the Lakers a dangerous ball club. If this recent performance is any indicator, Dwight will continue to improve and the ball will continue to go into him on the block because Mike D loves threes.