Game Report: Lakers defeat Wizards 102 – 96
The Lakers ended their four-game losing streak and returned to the Win column with a crucial win in Washington.
The win did not come easily for the Lakers – in part because they arrived at their hotel this morning at 3:30 a.m. to play on the second night of a back-to-back, and in part because they were missing Jordan Hill (back spasms) in addition to Steve Blake, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash.
The struggle to win was also in part because the Lakers are not playing very well right now.
But the Lakers pulled it out, and it doesn’t even matter that the Wizards are terrible. The most important thing was that the Lakers stopped the bleeding.
I am not sure whether Kobe Bryant had a terrible game or an amazing game. On the one hand, he shot a horribly inefficient 9 of 29 from the field, but on the other hand he dished out seven dimes, grabbed seven boards, and led the team in plus-minus at +17.
Another thing about Bryant that struck me tonight was his 11 of 13 effort from the free throw line – which is fairly typical for him. Of all the things Kobe does so well, the combination of his high free-throw attempts and high free-throw percentage may be his single greatest asset as a basketball player.
Steve Nash has now missed 22 consecutive games, but it’s another 22 that has Lakers fans feeling hopeful. If Nash returns to practice as he hopes to next week, insiders are forecasting that Nash’s return to action may take place on December 22 against the Golden State Warriors.
Lakers’ Player of the Game
The Player of the Game tonight was Jodie Meeks. The Lakers had fallen behind by nine in the second quarter, when Jodie Meeks took over to get the Lakers back in the lead by half time, and he continued with his hot hand into the second half. For the night, Meeks finished with 24 points on 9 of 14 shooting, and he recorded five rebounds and three steals for good measure.
Tonight’s Top Two Tweets in my Twitter Feed
“As terrible as Lakers have been overall, D’Antoni has clearly boosted Meeks’ confidence and now has Ebanks offsetting mistakes w/ activity.” – @KevinDing, mid-game tweet
“D’Antoni said the team absolutely needed a victory, but the effort was still not good enough for a full 48 minutes. Long ways to go.” – @LakersReporter, post-game tweet
Sunday, December 16 at the Philadelphia 76ers, 3:00 p.m. PST