We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 118-115 overtime win at Golden State:
Bench points for the Lakers, led by Metta World Peace’s 20. Jordan Hill added 14 points and eight rebounds after missing two games because of back spasms and getting a DNP-CD in the last one, playing 21 minutes in part due to Dwight Howard’s constant foul trouble. Jodie Meeks contributed 12 points with seven boards, while Chris Duhon offered seven assists to one turnover. It was a terrific overall effort from the reserves.
Minutes for Steve Nash in his first game back in almost two months. The two-time MVP finished with 12 points and nine assists on 5 for 8 shooting from the floor, making the only two three-pointers he attempted, including a go-ahead triple in the final minutes of regulation. His teammates couldn’t have been happier to have him back on the court, truly drawing confidence from his presence, while also getting better shots as he ran the pick and roll to typical expertise and thus picked up several hockey assists (Dwight Howard had all three of his assists in the second half and OT off screen roll kick outs). Mike D’Antoni offered this on his PG, who added the game-sealing pull-up jumper to put L.A. up three in the final seconds of overtime:
“I asked him ‘Are you okay?’ He said ‘Yeah, great.’ So he just keeps on going 40 minutes after not playing for like seven weeks. He’s unbelievable and down the stretch he made some great plays … “(The late jumper) doesn’t surprise me. If it wasn’t him he would have kicked it to someone else. The guys a winner that’s about all you can say.”
Point deficit the Lakers overcame in the final quarter, outscoring Golden State 34-21 in the fourth period to force overtime.
Clutch free throws made by Howard, who has steadily improved his stroke at the line in the past several games, making 3 of 4 in the game and 20 of 29 (69 percent) in his last five. He played only 29 minutes due to foul trouble in an OT game, but managed to stay on the floor for nearly the entire OT and the whole fourth quarter despite picking up his fifth foul 12 seconds into the fourth. He totaled 11 points, six boards and three assists with three turnovers and two blocks, but picked up his defense late.
Free throws attempted by Kobe Bryant on 41 field goal attempts, many of which came off drives into the paint. He did take (and miss) one technical foul shot, but he could hardly believe not drawing a personal foul throughout the contest. He made 6 of his 12 shots in the fourth quarter and overtime, including three needed jumpers in OT, having finally given up going into the paint. Bryant’s 16 of 41 (an NBA season-high in attempts) was still a better percentage (39.0 percent) than Golden State’s best player, Steph Curry, who made only 8 of 23 shots (34.7 percent).