Against the Warriors on Monday night, the Lakers fed Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol and barely pulled out the game because they turned it over 24 times. Last night against the Kings, they hit the bigs all game but limited their turnovers. They turned it over just twice in the first half and 10 for the game. The result - they cruised to a 106-99 win.
The Kings had no answer for Bynum, especially at the beginning of the game. He had 11 points in the first quarter on six shots - four dunks, a layup and a missed five-footer. He had 17 points and 9 rebounds at the half and if you've read just about any of my posts, you know what happened in the second half. Inexplicably, he had just 4 points and 3 rebounds. This has to be addressed. How can he be so dominant one half and nonexistent the next?
It's okay though, because Gasol picked up the slack in the second half. Gasol had 11 in the first and 17 in the second. He got those 28 points on just 14 shots and also added 12 rebounds. The two combined for 49 points, 24 rebounds and 6 assists. I'd say the Lakers took advantage of their mismatches.
Even Kobe Bryant was taking it to the paint. The amount of times he drove to the lane actually makes me wonder how healthy that shooting hand is. Normally, I'm a big fan of Bryant driving to the lane but this time it seemed like it was a sign that his hand isn't healthy. In the first quarter he passed up two wide open three-pointers to take it to the bucket and he also hit just 8 of 14 free throws.
Tyreke Evans showed both the strength and weakness of the Lakers. He was able to get to the rim at will - showing the Lakers' inability to defend quick guards. To be fair though, Evans has done this to just about every team. With his speed, size and height he's a mismatch for just about anyone. But against the Lakers, when he drove to the lane he was met by their greatest strength. Their big men. Bynum, Gasol and Lamar Odom were there to meet him and disrupt a few of his shots. He hit 5 of 11 from close range. That's not terrible but he would've hit a few more of those shots without those guys patrolling the paint. Evans went 7 for 19 for 25 points and also had 11 rebounds and nine assists.They are now four games ahead of the Nuggets and Mavericks for the top spot in the West with 14 left to play. They now head home to play two of the worst teams in the league. First it's the Wizards on Friday and then the Timberwolves on Sunday. Hopefully they can extend their winning streak to six games before their schedule gets really tough. Eight of their last 11 games are on the road and eight of those 11 are against teams above .500.