A few fun, laid-back leisure activities:
- Eating ice cream
- Walking on the beach
- Playing ping pong
- Getting a massage
All good things, but for the Lakers, there’s an easy answer: Winning NBA games by double-digit margins.
After all, heading into Tuesday’s game against New Orleans, L.A. had won six straight games by an average of 17.7 points.
You can make it seven.
Sure, the Hornets cut the Lakers’ 20-plus point lead in half during garbage time as L.A.’s fans looked on in horror*, but the purple and gold still won by 11. Pshew.
*N.O.’s 99 points JUST missed negating free Jack In The Box tacos, which are earned for each fan when L.A. wins and holds an opponent to under 100 points.
The starters were their usual long, almost-too-skilled selves, and the bench trio of Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown gave New Orleans fits particularly during a 31-15 second quarter that was the difference in the game.
“When they come in and give us our break, they’re unbelievable,” said Andrew Bynum, who led L.A. with 21 points and nine rebounds on 9-of-10 shooting. “They were a big reason that we pushed a (four-point lead) up to 20 and we were able to just sit on New Orleans until the end of the game.”
Derek Fisher added a season-high seven assists and five steals in just 24 minutes, while Kobe Bryant took only 11 shots for his 18 points. Ron Artest nailed two three-pointers for the sixth straight game, and L.A. shot 52.1 percent from the field. All the while, regular courtside celebs Jack Black and Andy Garcia could (leisurely) cross their legs in enjoyment as the Lakers and their length continued to impress.
“Their size and the quality of their size and the depth of their size is a problem for every team,” explained Hornets Head Coach Jeff Bower. “It was a problem for us.”
With the win, L.A. improved to a league-best 14-3 on the young season heading into weekend matchups with Miami (10-7) and Phoenix (14-4), the latter of which the Lakers recently beat by 19 on Nov. 12.
“I think we’re playing pretty good basketball but I think it’s really hard to measure it,” said Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson. “I think we’ll get, really, a measure of this team, where we’re at this point in the season, with Miami and Phoenix on Friday and Sunday.”
Jackson has taken measure of his own squad of late, shortening his bench rotation to the Odom-Farmar-Brown group that has rendered success since the return of Pau Gasol, who added 14 points and five boards in 28 minutes in this one.
Odom finished with eight rebounds, six assists and eight points while posting a game-high +20 plus-minus rating, while Farmar added 10 points to compliment Brown’s four points, two boards, two assists, steal and block.
Their next chance to shine, as Jackson said, comes on Friday. Until then, your numbers.
1,129 Twitter followers gained in one night for our new @LetShannonDunk account. LetShannonDunk!, OK?
40.3 Ron Artest’s three-point percentage for the season after he connected on 2-of-3 from distance.
20 Lamar Odom’s game-high plus-minus rating. He finished with eight points, eight rebounds and six assists in 25 minutes.
12 Points L.A. held New Orleans to in the second quarter until a last-second, 29-foot three-pointer from UCLA product Darren Collison gave ‘em 15.
6 Straight games Artest has hit at least two three-pointers.
1 Lakers rank in field goal defense heading into the game. New Orleans did manage to shoot 47.7 percent, but still lost by 11.