Kobe Bryant's Lakers Surge Forward
It seems as if the Lakers are on cloud nine right now. What is LA's MVP guard thinking about? Is he thinking about how they just demolished the Nuggets on Friday? The scoreboard only says that they won by 14, but Carmelo Anthony's FG% exposes the Nuggets. Anthony shot 5-19 including 0-3 from beyond the arc. The Lakers smothered him on defense. They realized that Anthony is Denver's energy. Phil Jackson had this to say about the strategy used:
"We focused on not giving him open opportunities, getting a body on him when he gets the basketball, turning him to the baseline a lot of times and trying to keep him from the middle so he couldn’t penetrate,” Jackson said. “Vlade (Radmanovic) did a good job on him and I thought guys focused on him and knew where he was.”
Even when I read what Nuggets' Head Coach George Karl had to say, I sensed some helplessness within his answer as if he knew his best offensive weapon was jammed and there was nothing he could do about it.
“I think it’s very difficult to be a star when defenses are designed and manipulated to take you out and stop you from being successful,” Karl said. “Right now we’re not getting a lot of opportunities for him. He’s taking a lot of tough shots and getting frustrated over the shot selection. I think he’s got to be patient and work with us, and we’ll figure out how to help him gain more success.”
Did you feel it? It was that, "I-tried-everything-and-nothing-was-working" answer. So if Anthony isn't available to shoot, we all know who readily steps up; Karl's prodigal son J.R. Smith. He did alright, 6-12 shooting and 3-6 on the 3-pt, however his five turnovers (team high) counteract everything he did.
The one thing that I don't understand is why is it that Billups hasn't clicked with the team? My best guess is that that team is going to have to learn how to play better defense. But enough about them, let's rejoice in another Lakers' victory!
Andrew Bynum recorded one block to go along with his 13 points and rebounds. I didn't get to see the game so I don't know if Trevor Ariza exploded for any sick dunks. Mark my words, he is going to catch someone underneath that rim BAD this year.
Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar are becoming more and more alike each other in the stat department. And let's not forget about the ever-ready Sasha Vujacic. He jacked up 11 shots and made two, but I'm sure Phil doesn't have a problem if his tenacious defense keeps improving.
The Lakers (10-1) play the struggling Sacramento Kings (5-9) tonight. Hopefully Francisco Garcia is ready to play tonight otherwise, this could be another long night for the Kings who were blown out on Friday by Portland. The Blazers were plus 10 in the 3-pt. category.
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