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Inactives for Today’s Game
Lakers: Trevor Ariza, Andrew Bynum, Chris Mihm
Cavaliers: Cedric Simmons, Sasha Pavlovic, Shannon Brown
10:56 After struggling to find his shot the past few games, Lamar makes a strong move against Drew Gooden for an easy layup. After another sub par effort against the Mavericks, Coach jackson said that Odom needed to be more aggressive–a task that was part his responsibility and part the team’s. So far, it looks as if both parties listened.
8:14 Jackson calls an early timeout and does not appear to be happy with the Lakers’ up and down play so far. The Cavs lead 9-8, but the Lakers have allowed a series of easy baskets, the latest a layup by Larry Hughes. On the bright side, it looks as if the team is making a concerted effort to get Lamar going early as he has made his first two shots of the game, both aggressive moves that have led to layups.
5:49 Lamar’s definitely come to play today, spinning in the lane on his way to yet another easy layup for his eighth point already on perfect 4-4 shooting. The Lakers lead 16-11 with about half the quarter gone by and are shooting an impressive 67% from the field.
3:52 Kwame continues to be aggressive on offense, following a dunk a few minutes ago with a solid post move and one. Meanwhile, Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic just got an early call for the Lakers, replacing Fisher and Walton.
3:36 Play’s been stalled for an official’s timeout as it looks like there might be a leak of some sort dropping water down onto the floor behind the Lakers’ basket. Even the Laker girls are getting tired as play’s been stopped for at least five minutes now.
2:58 Kobe weaves his way into the lane with ease for his fourth point. On the previous play, Sasha nailed a three from the top of the arc after around a 15 minute delay due to the leak. The Lakers lead 23-19.
2:17 Ronny Turiaf checks into the game for the Lakers and gets a boisterous cheer from the STAPLES Center fans.
10:15 And with the first foul of the second quarter we’ve got blood. Sasha came across and clipped Lebron in the nose causing another delay in what has been a weird game thus far.
9:41 Good defense by Ronny leads to a wild shot by Sideshow Bob. The ensuing fast break includes 4 Lakers and only 2 Cavs. Jordan trails deep on the wing before darting behind Cavs as they collapse on Kobe. Bryant then finds Jordan underneath with a long bounce pass for easy reverse layup. 31-30 Lakers.
6:00 Vladimir Radmanovic enters for the first time since the December 30th game against the Celtics. His first shot rattles around, but it’s not to be, none the less it’s nice to have another offensive option off the bench. The substitution gives Lamar a breather and he needs one after playing a confusing brand of basketball the past couple minutes. I hate to pile on when a guys down, but Lamar came out committed to doing something today, but has regressed back to his play of the past couple games in the second quarter. Beating any team is a tall task without contributions from LO, time to get back to how he was playing in the first quarter.
2:22 As much as Varejao trys, jumping out on the screen against Kobe isn’t going to help him. There’s just no way he’s going to slow up the Bean enough. Kobe illustrates this point as slides past Anderson and flushes it home over Gooden.
1:27 Lamar looks ready to check in as a TV timeout takes us to a stoppage with the Cavs having their biggest lead of the afternoon at 46-37. Jordan Farmar is the only Laker with more than two points, while Lebron James has poured in eight this quarter to give him 19 on the day.
That wasn’t the Lakers lowest scoring quarter of the half, but it was close. If not for a couple of 12-points (@ San Antonio last week, @ Cleveland in December) that 14-points would have been a new season low. Free throws are once again a struggle early for the team, just as they were on the road this week. Right now the Lakers are shooting just 28.6% (2-7) from the charity stripe.
A look at the hustle board shows that the Cavs have turned 6 Laker turnovers into 9 points while the Lakers have only converted Cleveland’s 4 turnovers into 4 points. In the fast-break department the Lakers are getting crushed 10-4.
7:55 It hasn’t been all Lakers in the first four minutes, but it’s been mostly Lakers. Cleveland needs to call a TO to stop the bleeding as the home team has stormed back from their 9-point halftime deficit to tie the game up at 51. A lone Ira Newble dunk has been the only bright spot for the Cavs. 5/5 from the line ups that percentage from 28.6% at the half to 53.8% now (7/13).
4:49 Fish is a nice guy, we all know that, but he’s getting heated after picking up a foul after taking one in the chops a couple minutes ago and now grabbing another ticky tack foul here. Kobe takes the heat for him and subsequently picks up a T. It’ll cost him in the wallet, but as has been the case all year it’s a great sign of the leadership role he’s taken on.
3:12 Varejao lies in a heap on the offensive end of the floor after getting tangled up while in the air down low. Phil seems upset that Gooden’s foul isn’t called a clear path since he was the only Cav in the vicinity of the four white jerseys. Anderson has to be helped to the locker room as he can’t put any weight on the sore right leg. Lamar heads to the line and sinks both to bring the Lakers within two at 63-61. That’s 9/10 from the line this quarter.
1:14 I didn’t mention when the Lakers picked up their SECOND defensive three of the day, but I will mention that they’ve just picked up their THIRD. Get outta the key boys. In other news Kobe put down a 20-footer right in Bron Bron’s grill to give the Lakers the lead.
End of 3rd
After two completely dismal 3rd quarters in Texas this was just the kind of performance the Lakers needed to come out with after the half. Kobe had 11-points, but Lamar Odom’s 6-points and 6 boards impressed more than anything. That’s two good quarters and one bad one for LO, let’s hope for one more good one to carry the Lakers home. 71-69 LA.
10:33 Sasha continues to play well for the Lakers, notching his seventh point on three of four shooting. As a team, the Lakers have come out in the fourth much like the way they finished the third–with a ton of energy and increased precision on offense. They’ve pushed their lead to 77-70.
7:20 Kobe’s been doing playing great all-around ball in the fourth quarter, scoring when needed, but also doing an impressive job distributing the ball to his teammates as well. Ronny’s headed to the line for two with the Lakers leading 84-79.
6:14 Ilgauskas just fouled out for the Cavs, leaving them without his 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Cavs’ center has pretty much had his way inside tonight so this is potentially a huge break for the Lakers as they enter the final six minutes of the quarter.
4:00 Kobe comes back in for the Lakers and just in time as the Lakers suddenly trail 90-86 after another turnover by Farmar. Phil’s decided to keep Derek and Jordan on the floor for the home stretch, joining Walton, Bryant and Turiaf. The Lakers have appeared out of sync on offense for the past few minutes. Kobe just missed two big free throws though on his first possession since reentering the game.
2:24 Fisher nails a huge three to bring the Lakers back within one after Larry Hughes scored on the Cavs’ end. With play beginning to get ragged, Cleveland just called a timeout.
1:29 Luke’s headed to the line for two after almost making the driving layup to go along with it. He makes one as the Lakers reclaim the lead at 93-92.
20.1 LeBron just nailed a fall away jumper with Kobe in his face to put the Cavs up by three with 20 seconds to go and the Lakers with the ball.
10.0 Ronny just delivered with a huge offensive rebound and put-back to bring the Lakers to within one. On the ensuing inbound pass, the Lakers stole the ball, but Kobe missed a layup that would have put the Lakers up by one. Instead, the Cavs have the ball with 10 seconds to go, still up by one.
The Lakers fail to even put a shot up, even though they had a full nine seconds to do so.
FINAL SCORE: Cavs 98, Lakers 95