NBA / anthony davis

Lakers Finally Win A Game They Should
On a night where the surging Clippers and Kings suffered timely losses in the playoff hunt, the Los Angeles Lakers came out tonight and actually MANAGED to do their job at home! Anthony Davis was on a 20 minutes restriction for Asset Protection Reasons, but he still managed to pour in 22-8-2 on 10/14 FG for the Pelicans while former Laker Julius Randle absolutely showed out. He was caught jawing several times to former coach Luke Walton and the Lakers coaching staff, tossing aside biting remarks like, "These guys can't guard me".....and he was right. LeBron, JaVale McGee, and Kyle Kuzma were all tasked with slowing down Julius and they didn't exactly do a great job (35-6-3-1-1 on 11/22 FG). Even though the game wasn't perfect, the Lakers managed to do enough to get the win. This victory shined a little light on their lingering playoff hopes. Kudos to LeBron James tonight (33-6-10-2-1, 13/24 FG). He's still feeling the effects of his groin injury, but he managed to be engaged for just about every minute he was on the floor tonight. Brons engagement was practically nowhere to be found in this string of ugly losses of late. I think it was largely due to Anthony Davis taking the floor versus the Lakers this time. Bron has to show out for the Brow like a guy showing off in front of a girl during pickup. He came up big though, including an absolutely baffling one-legged, turnaround, fadeaway corner three while falling backward to seal the game! You need to check the highlights at the bottom to see. Rhythm of the Game I can't believe I'm saying this, but when the Lakers took the floor in the first they looked like they actually gave a shit. Losing embarrassingly to the Pelicans less than a week ago, Bron playing in front of Davis, and playing for the home crowd will do that for you. After stumbling in the early going JaVale McGee (who was relegated to the bench as opposed to his usual starting role) started coming up big with some hustle plays, dunks, and blocks. The Lakeshow including LeBron was clearly trying....and we were still in the first quarter! Which is saying A LOT about the lack of fucks given in recent losses. But the Pelicans were playing razor sharp in response. Julius Randle was just eating every Laker defender for breakfast. JaVale, LeBron, Kuzma, none of them could do anything against the beast of a man in Randle. Slight Laker lead after one despite the clear dominance from Randle, 28-35. In the second quarter, we saw LeBron, BI, Rondo, Bullock, and Lance protect the lead from the surging Pels, but a Frank Jackson/Jrue Holiday rally put the visitors on top, 51-50. I guess we should've seen this coming, huh? Lots of time left in the game. Even with Anthony Davis on a 20ish minutes cap, the spirit of the Pels was forever dangerous against this year's Lakers. LA did manage to go on a late-quarter run to put some distance between themselves and New Orleans, 57-63 at the half. The Lakers quickly came out in the third and gave up their lead thanks to a laughable, apathetic effort on defense. Luke had to call timeout to regroup, but what unfolded next had me absolutely floored. After falling down by four points, the Lakers got four straight dunks from Kyle Kuzma and Bron, including a poster dunk on former teammate Julius Randle! Julius had been bullying Kuz every time he got switched onto him, so you know that poster dunk had to mean something to Kyle. The fourth dunk was just the icing on the cake in a crowd-invigorating dunk show. Despite the flaming theatrics, LA was only up four, 75-79 with five minutes left in the third. It was a 17-7 Lakers run that saw the home team go up by eight, but New Orleans erased their progress in a matter of minute with a constant series of possessions that saw Jrue Holiday burn KCP one-on-one. New Orleans managed to recapture the lead, 92-91, but at a certain point KCP regained his pride and drained a mid-ranger over Jrue. Three-point Laker lead at the end of the third, 92-95. There was a simmering tension to kick this final period off. Neither team could break out and get the first run of the period until the Lakers dug deep and laid out a 9-0 LA run which put it at 104-92. LA was in prime position to pull away, but a timely three here or there just kept the Pelicans in this tight battle. A viciously idiotic JaVale McGee between the legs turnover in a packed painted area cost LA a transition bucket, which cut it to six, 102-108. LeBron was coming back in. Six minutes left and we were about to hit crunch time. The Pelicans bench stayed afloat without Davis, Randle, or Holiday on the floor. When two of those three came back, New Orleans cut it down to a three-point game! Somebody had to take over for the Lakers in this make or break moment. Three-point Laker lead with four minutes to play. An Ingram free throw set up the purple and gold with a four-point advantage. Then, Reggie Bullock followed it with a transition three to give the Lakers some seven-point breathing room. The Pellies promptly responded with a couple of Julius scores to make it another nerve-wracking three-point stare down, but LeBron got mad and sank the clutch and-1 muscle bucket! It was really intersting. Julius and LeBron were going straight at each other for a few possessions throughout this game. Thats 250+ pounds of athletic Power Forward muscle on each side matching up and locking horns. Hope started emanating from my body, but in the nick of time, the Pels cut it to a one-point game! 1:30 left to play. Brandon Ingram got a clutch iso drive to push it to three with about a minute to play. Jrue had the ball at the other end with the chance to tie, but he turned it over! Bullock recovered the ball, LeBron took the rock and fumbled around for the entire shot clock – AND HE SUNK A MIRACLE ONE-LEGGED TURNAROUND CORNER THREE FALLING BACK! Six-point game with 30 seconds left. All the Lakers had to do was NOT. GIVE UP. A THREE. New Orleans ran a gorgeous Julius Randle slipping alley-oop for the quick score – but he fumbled and turned it over! LeBron regained possession and went to the line for free throws. …but he missed them both, effectively giving the Pelicans the ball back with no time lost. The Pelicans only threw up a three that quickly bricked, ball falling back promptly into Laker hands. After an extremely tense week or so, LA gets the necessary home win, 119-125. Takeaways The Kings lost. The Clippers lost. The Celtics lost. And the Warriors lost. These guys either have all the good in the world or all the bad fall into their lap. There's no in between. The Kings and Clippers losses are good for their playoff chances. The Celtics and Warriors losing is just a nice little shot of schadenfreude dopamine. They're still three back of the Clippers/Spurs for the eight seed and two back of the Kings for the ninth. Lots of work left to do, but 20ish games remain to change their fate. One thing that jumped out about this game was the reliability of Brandon Ingram and Reggie Bullock's three. Outside of LeBron's usually outstanding stats, BI poured in 23-6-4 on 8/14 shooting with zero turnovers. That's another quietly great game from the lanky third year wing! Those are secondary star numbers! As for Reggie Bullock, he pitched in 14 & 5 in the process of sinking two quick threes when we DESPERATELY needed them in the last couple minutes. I feel like it's ok to expect Reggie to make wide-open threes for the Lakers, which is unique for us Laker fans because all year we couldn't count on anyone to sink them wide-open. Except KCP/Josh Hart during brief stretches. Shoutout to Kyle Kuzma too with 22-5-2 on 9/15 shooting with one turnover. Oh and Rondo had 11 pts, 7 rebs, and 16 assists! Bron and Rondo's give-a-shit sensors were actually turned on tonight. It's funny how drastically outlooks can change when the Lakers gain a win versus a loss in this crucial stretch. As a fan, you either go completely optimistic up to the ceiling or you fall into a swamp of depression, and contemplate whether it's worth sitting through these last few games when they're such unbelievable bums. Why should I dedicate the time in my life to get angry and watch these guys lose against shitty teams? Every win feels like the start of a potentially unbelievable run, because we have LeBron and the stakes are high. Here's to the Lakers actually earning a spot in the freakin' playoffs. Whether you love them or hate them, the NBA will be way more entertaining with them in it versus the wack-ass Kings or Clippers.