The city of angels...
The defending NBA Champs opened the season with a special ring ceremony last Tuesday. However, Ron Artest wasn't part of the run therefore he remained in the lockeroom and watched.
Lakers v Clippers W99-92
Not much of a road game for the Clippers but it sure didn't feel like home. The Lakers were without PF Pau Gasol who continues to nurse a hamstring and is day-to-day. #1 Overall pick Blake Griffin is out for a month and a half with a broken kneecap leaving a soft Clippers' frontline all alone.
Kobe poured in 33 points and grabbed 8 rebounds for starters. Lamar Odom started the game and he didn't disappoint with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Odom continually is an intricite part to the Lakers rythm. Second year guard Eric Gordon matched Kobe's intensity as best he could and whipped up 21 points.
He was the only guard on the Clippers who looked like he enjoyed his job. Veteran Baron Davis shot 1-10 with an airball that looked like he shot with his eyes closed, missing the rim by a foot. Chris Kaman went 8-17 with 16 points and 18 rebounds leading the frontcourt. However, the magic in the atmosphere propelled the Lakers behind Andrew Bynum's 26 points and 13 rebounds on his 22nd birthday.
Lakers v Mavericks L94-80
Following an embarrassing loss to the Wizards at home, in which the Mavericks gave up 39 bench points to Andre Blatche and Randy Foye, they were motivated to knock out the defending champs in Staples Center. The game started slow and neither team had a feel early on while trading baskets every so often.
By the second quarter the Mavs found a little light and made play after play with newly aquired Shawn Marion scoring easy buckets from Kidd Nowitzki and opened up a seven point lead at halftime. In the second half the Mavs looked elite while getting to the line often. THey shot 25-32 whil the Lakers only went 9-14 from the free-throw line.
Dallas opened a 78-56 spread in the third quartet until the Lakers rallied(laughing) and made it 18 at the end of three. Kobe finished with 20 points on 6-19 shooting as the Lakers climbed within 12 after an amazing Shannon Brown put back dunk.
The Mavs unsung hero Jason Terry scored 16 points off the bench and hit 3-5 from the three-point arc. Ultimately the Lakers were outplayed at home and Mark Cuban was the most ecstatic owner of the weekend.
Lakers v Hawks W118-110
The Hawks who expect to contend with the Celtics and Magic in the East were looking to run L.A. on a Sunday night. Joe Johnson shot lights out in the first quarter. Joe lit up Kobe for 18 in the opening quarter and looked like he was good for at least 25 more. Kobe, not to be outdone had 13 to lead L.A.
Ron Artest picked up his game and threw it at Joe Johnson, limiting him to two second quarter poinrs. Lamar and Andrew combined for only 17 boards but were exceptional on defense. Bynum and his teammates accounted for 60 points in the paint.
Atlanta never got their starting frontcourt in a groove which only scored 19 points. Marvin Williams was a ghost while Josh Smith along with Al Horford grabbed 14 rebounds and committed nine turnovers combined in the game.
Coach Mike Woodson however can concentrate on his bench chipping in 49 points. Jeff Teague played efficiently and had 12 while Jamal Crawford went for 17. The lakers were too powerful with 41 from Kobe and 21 from Bynum.