No Gasol-ine, But Lakers Coast Home

20 03 2008

No Pau Gasol… both Andrew Bynum & Trevor Ariza still weeks away from being ready, but the Lakers are still capable of good basketball. Midway through the 3rd quarter against Dallas, in Dallas, Los Angeles were up by 25 points. The Mavericks rallied, but couldn’t finish – LA running out winners 102-100.

Has to be a bit worrying for Dallas. They are never going to see the Lakers this depleted, and to be able to rally back from 25 down but not be able to close… well, it’s troublesome.

And for the Lakers…
Honestly? I think that winning a close one will do more for this team than a blow-out would. Sans Gasol, Bynum and (to a lesser extent) Ariza, the Lakers are short-handed – and a bit of a scare won’t hurt at all. Players who don’t normally step up when the team’s underdone, did so. Yes, Kobe got his points – Kobe always does – shooting a very efficient 12-from-23 29 points with 7 assists.
Odom goes hard… Lamar Odom was phenomenal with 17 boards and 17 points… but fantastic support was also there from Vladimir Radmanovic, who scored 21 points and 10 boards. Radmanovic’s points don’t please me as much as his 10 boards do – he’s not normally the strong rebounder (which is annoying, given his size).
Ronny Turiaf playing out of position, at center, but managing a workman-like 11 points, 5 boards and 4 blocked shots. Turiaf may be the ‘energy guy’ on the Lakers, but he is also perhaps the most versatile of the Lakers’ deep bench… a bench that’s being stretched to it’s limits with injuries.

Ahead, Utah will be a tough opponent, but then the Lakers face a few teams with not quite the status of the last few opponents. If they can manage to do well until Gasol comes back, then they are still looking good heading into the playoffs, where the presence of Bynum will add a little more to the mix, and Ariza shouldn’t be too far away either.
In case you’re wondering, still good to be a Lakers fan.

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