This was an easily winnable game that the Lakers did not take seriously, and it cost them.
And then two things happened: the Magic got hot (they outscored the Lakers 40-26 in the 4th quarter), and they employed Ding-A-Dwight, which worked to perfection. The Lakers had absolutely no offensive rhythm in those final six minutes, as Orlando kept fouling Howard, who couldn’t hit enough free throws to make them stop.
Howard was 9 of 21 (43%) on free throws for the night.
On the positive side, the Lakers committed only 11 turnovers tonight, and Howard did have his second consecutive 15-15 game (his fourth of the season).
But the overall lack of effort will be how this game will be remembered, assuming that we’re unable to forget it.
For all their size, the Lakers were out-blocked tonight 10-2. Ouch. That stat sums up the game rather well.
Finally, Steve Nash missed his 15th consecutive game tonight. In his previous three seasons, he missed a total of 12.
Lakers Player of the Game
There are no flawless candidates to choose from, but I will go with Kobe Bryant, who scored 34 points (12-27), and added seven boards and five assists. However, Bryant – like Howard – was a -17 for the night, and the Lakers are now 1 – 6 when Kobe scores 30 or more (h/t @janiscarr).
Tonight’s Top Two Tweets in my Twitter Feed
“This feels like one of those ‘players-only closed-door meeting’ kind of games.” – Dave McMenamin (@mcten), post-game tweet
“As much as LAL will welcome the shooting and passing of Nash when he returns, his spirit on the floor in picking guys up could be just as key.” – Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter), post-game tweet
Tuesday, December 4 vs. the Houston Rockers, 5:00 p.m. PST