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Inactives for Tonight’s Game:
Lakers: Kwame Brown, Trevor Ariza
Sonics: Luke Ridnour, Robert Swift
10:06 The Lakers look a little out of sync on offense so far, but Andrew Bynum’s three point play just tied the game at five. The Sonics have no answer for Bynum’s size so the Lakers would be wise to continue to throw it into him deep in the paint.
8:52 Promising start for Kobe as he makes his second shot in a row to open the game. Kobe’s had a strong of games in which he’s shot an extremely low percentage from the field. Following the Lakers loss to the Nets two nights ago, Coach Jackson instructed Kobe to shoot and so far, it seems like he’s following orders well.
7:07 Chris Wilcox’s activity around the rim has caused the Lakers all kinds of problems so far as the Sonics center is already up to eight points. Before tonight’s game, Jackson predicted that Bynum could experience trouble against a faster player like Wilcox. With five minutes gone in the quarter and a 14-13 Sonics lead, it looks like he might be right.
4:47 Kobe’s continued his aggression, following up a vintage highlight reel ally-oop with a drive to the hole and two freebies. Bryant picked a good night to put on his scoring cap as the Sonics have absolutely no answer whatsoever for #24. Lamar Odom has also looked especially active tonight, already chipping in six points of his own.
1:23 Kobe finally missed one, but he’s still leading the Lakers charge…Odom’s also continued his hot streak to open up the game. It’s nice to see the Lakers first and second option playing in unison. It seems like it hasn’t happened much this season.
1:16 Jordan Farmar, Chris Mihm, Sasha Vujacic and Luke Walton are into the game for the Lakers. Phil Jackson singled out the second unit’s poor showing against the Nets as one of the main reasons the Lakers lost the game. We’ll see how they respond to the criticism tonight.
0:00 The Lakers lead 30-25 at the end of the first.
8:23 The Lakers head into the first break of the quarter all square with the Sonics 36-36. The crowd is dead right now and you can’t blame them. I’m bored myself. The biggest cheers so far this quarter have been when Ronny Turiaf entered the game.
7:23 Wally Szczerbiak just sank a three to push the Sonics lead to 6 (41-36). I just wanted to write Szczerbiak for the first time and get it out of the way. We’ll be copying and pasting the rest of way with ole Wally.
6:39 Sonics up 7. Boo birds in effect. Kobe and Radman are heading back in. We’ve got the whole starting lineup in the game for the final six minutes.
5:44 It’s okay to take the crowd off life support after that alley-oop from Kobe to Andrew after a steal at midcourt. A second consecutive Lakers break causes PJ to call a TO. Sloppy play all around, but the Lakers have closed the gap to three, so I’ll take it.
3:56 Ronny ties it up at 43 as he makes the and-one after being fouled on the break. Kobe set him up with a nice little over the head pass down the lane. Nice to see #24 share the wealth after completely forcing two terrible shots during the last possession.
1:17 Kobe’s got the Lakers last six-points but the Sonics continue to answer on the other end with various and-ones and miracle floaters.
28.0 Turiaf finishes on the Fisher fast-break and doesn’t get called for an offensive foul this time. This is followed by one of the most ticky-tack delay of game fouls of all time by referee #48. This being the second of the game on the home team, the Sonics get a free foul shot, which they make to make it 54-52 Lakers.
Update: #48 is Scott Foster for those that like to send hate mail.
0:00 54-54 ball game at the half.
HALFTIME SCORE: Lakers 54, Sonics 54. Not much to cheer about so far in Lakerland, with the team basically sleepwalking through most of the first half, actually falling behind to the lowly 2-12 Sonics by six at one point. Thankfully, Kobe’s awoken from his multi-game slumber to score 21 badly-needed points for the Lakers. Lamar Odom has also returned to form—for a half anyway—adding 13 points of his own. Ronny Turiaf also provided an energy boost upon entering his game, finishing with five timely points.
The Lakers had no answer for the Sonics’ Chris Wilcox, who manhandled the team for 14 points and a series of posterizing dunks over the Lakers big men corp. In the second half, the Lakers desperately need to assert themselves early to squash any confidence the Sonics built in controlling the tempo for the majority of the first half. Andrew Bynum also needs to step up on the defensive end with Wilcox looking like an All-Star in the first 24 minutes. At some point in the second half, you also have to think the Lakers will begin to play with a sense of urgency after losing three straight. At least, that’s the hope anyway…
10:06 One thing that we’ve learned so far during this young NBA season–it’s really easy for Andrew Bynum to dunk. What makes this significant is that he’s finally opening up to the possibility that it’s his best weapon. I’m sure the numbers support that he’s made a ton of dunks his first couple years, but he’s never looked this willing to throw down on someone’s melon. He also figured out that if he takes the one extra step to a better position he’ll be able to crush without impediment. This is an exciting development for those that want to see Bynum look more like Dwight Howard.
Another happy development is Vladimir Radmanovic’s first made field goal in two games. That snaps an 0-12 streak.
6:38 Delonte West picks up a T for doing his best impression of the “I’m taking my ball and going home” kid that we all knew from the playgrounds or yore. It’s just unsightly to throw a temper tantrum during an NBA game. Even more so when you don’t really have all that good a reason. 66-61 Lakers.
6:13 The second thing we’ve learned about Andrew Bynum in the early going of the 07-08 campaign is that he attracts fouls like a 20 years old. He just grabbed his fourth on a play that took place about 17-feet from the basket. Not smart for the big man. It’s a recurring problem that is just part of being a young player in the NBA, but fixing it sooner than later could dictate how much of a contribution Bynum makes this year.
4:24 Kevin Durant is doing a lot out there. This time he worked three crossovers into a drive to the rack, but forgot to take the ball. A poke from Lamar had something to do with it. Odom seemed to find the whole thing kind of funny as he gave Durant a little slap on the back after he regained his footing.
3:17 We’ve got Fish heading to the line for three free ones and the Lakers leading 72-66. During the timeout the music crew plays a little Prince which gets Ronny up out of his chair and grooving. Haven’t seen a lot of that this year, but I welcome as much of it as Ronny will give. Fish sinks all three.
2:31 Nick Collison is awarded two free throws, but can’t continue after getting wacked on the previous play. This sets up a situation where Phil Jackson gets to choose any Sonics player he wants to shoot the free throw. He chooses Mouhamed Sene. Doesn’t seem like Phil gave it much thought, but Sene is a career 54% guy from the line, so it wasn’t a bad choice. Sene holds true to form and makes one of two.
0:00 A foul against Chris Mihm caps the quarter, but the refs will check the replay to make sure it was before the buzzer sounded. As it stands now the Lakers are up 85-72. Oops, it was before the buzzer. Wilcox goes to the line and clanks the first. The Lakers have .6 on the clock to respond and a hail mary was almost caught at the 10 yard line by Turiaf.
A solid 12 point lead heading into the final frame. I want to see them blow this open so I can get some Javaris and Coby Karl time.
10:48 Suddenly, it looks like Mihm has his confidence back a little bit after making another transition layup. With Bynum in foul trouble, the Lakers need every bit of it. Chris may not have his usual explosiveness back yet, but he’s still finding the right spots on the floor. If he can find a way to finish around the hoop without dunking over opponents, he’d dramatically help the Lakers’ depth chart with Kwame out indefinitely.
9:00 Ronny just jumped to the moon to block Szczerbiak’s shot clear to half court and took STAPLES for a ride too. He got a little overanxious on the Sonics ensuing drive though and was called for goal-tending. The first block was probably the highlight of the night for both teams so far.
6:56 Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom are back in the game for the final stretch with the Lakers leading by 13 at 92-79.
6:15 Looks like Jordan Farmar got a little jealous of Fish’s excellent shooting on the night, knocking his second three in a row to combat a Sonics trey the play before. Unlike the Nets game, the two lead point guards for the Lakers are picking each other up when the other is on the bench.
5:58 Andrew Bynum’s finally back in the game to replace Mihm after a long break and immediately one-ups Chris by actually completing a dunk…even if it didn’t count. Some fans behind the basket yelled, “FINALLY!” upon Bynum being called to the scorers table. That about sums it up.
3:50 Kobe just bailed the Lakers out big time with a three as the shot clock expired and the Sonics looking like they were about to creep their way back into the game. Instead, the Lakers lead by 10 at 98-88.
2:33 We just had a little split screen dance-off during the timeout between two Laker girl wannabes…sadly, that was probably the most entertaining two minutes of the night.
1:47 STAPLES wants some TACOS and they’re letting the Lakers know all about it.
FINAL SCORE: Lakers 106, Sonics 99