So, this one was a blowout. Even Forrest Gump could take a look at the postgame box and come to that conclusion.
But heading into Sunday’s contest against the Warriors, you had a pretty obvious recipe for a letdown game:
A: Exude maximum mental and physical effort to beat a Boston team that defeated your squad in the previous season’s NBA Finals +
B: Welcome in a team like the Warriors that plays hot potato offense and just a touch more defense than the (0-16) Detroit Lions +
C: Get a day off from practice while spending time with your family and friends for the Holidays (turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, apple pie and the like)
For the first 10 minutes of Sunday afternoon’s Lakers – Warriors matchup at STAPLES, an energy sap from L.A.’s X-Mas win over the Celtics was precisely what we saw … at least defensively, as the two teams put up 27 points apiece.
But it didn’t last long for the Lakers.
L.A.’s bench – with Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom and Sasha Vujacic in leading roles – quickly pushed the Lakers on a 7-0 run to close the first quarter, and moments later L.A. jumped to a 15-point lead on Vujacic’s triple early in the second. Sure, the Warriors dabbled in various comeback attempts (a 10-0 second quarter run, for example), but the game was never in doubt after the aforementioned burst.
Derek Fisher’s three at the 6:40 mark of the third quarter pushed L.A.’s lead to a then-high 16 points, and Odom’s triple to close the third quarter increased the max on L.A.’s lead to 17 at 102-85. The blowout continued in the fourth quarter, when Fish (9-of-12 for the game) couldn’t miss, Vujacic hit two more triples (season-high 17 points), and Pau Gasol and Bryant got ice on their knees early.
From that point on, it was the Sun Yue (fall-away jumper in the final minute), Josh Powell, Trevor Ariza, Vladi Radmanovic and Vujacic show, against a Warriors lineup featuring the likes of something called Robert Kurz (????), Anthony Morrow (yup) and DeMarcus Nelson (just up from the D-League). Ultimately, L.A. scored a season-high 130 points, and emerged with its 25th win in 30 games.
Categories in which Trevor Ariza made a solid impact with this stat line: 11 points, nine rebounds, four assists, one steal, two blocks.
Team-leading assists for Pau Gasol, plus nine boards and 13 points. Two of Gasol’s dimes were terrific touch passes to Bynum for dunks. Bynum notched the game’s only double-double with his 13 points and 10 boards in 25 minutes.
First quarter points from Kobe Bryant, who finished with a game-high 31 in 31 minutes, on an impressive 9-of-15 from the field plus 10-of-10 free throws (Bryant didn’t get to the free throw line once against Boston).
Vujacic’s point total, the most he’s scored since putting up 20 in game three of the NBA Finals last season. Sasha added a season high six assists, and continued to play his best games after appearing on Lakers.com after shootaround. Seriously.
Lamar Odom’s +/- ranking, a game high. Odom’s stat sheet wasn’t particularly loud (six points, three boards, a steal, block and assist), but his floor leadership of the second unit was quite good.
Points in the paint by the Lakers, to 38 for Golden State.
Points by the Lakers, a season-high.