Steve Blake had yet to make a field goal through seven quarters since returning from an elbow injury. He had repeatedly mentioned soreness in the injured area post practice leading up to the road trip. Then he ruptured his right ear drum at Minnesota, after taking an elbow from a Wolves player. He still finished the game, though, with six assists and three steals, and maintained he’d be fine going forward.
Postgame, Blake acknowledged this about shooting the ball: “It can be a little difficult to get quick shots off at the three, so I just have to pick my spots and go from there.”
At Cleveland, with the Cavs whittling the Lakers once 28-point advantage to single digits, he picked the right spots to shoot.
He stepped into two three-pointers and swished both down the stretch to help L.A. hold off a late Cavs rally. Blake recorded his second career triple-double with 11 points, 15 assists and 10 boards, to go along with three steals in 40 minutes.
“When Steve Blake comes back, the whole atmosphere changes,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Last year, that was the guy that came back that got us on our run last year. He comes back now, and makes the two daggers at the end of the game. He makes a big difference. He plays hard, with grit, determination and he doesn’t back down on anybody.”
Blake’s return, along with Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar, has given the team a more fluid rhythm on offense with their ability to penetrate and create. Over the last two games, the Lakers are shooting 48.3 percent from the three-point line (28 of 58). At Cleveland, L.A. set a franchise record for a regulation game with 18 three-pointers made. Below is a shot chart of their efficiency from beyond the arc over the first two games of the road trip.
Prior to Blake’s injury, the Lakers had reeled off a 10-9 record, in large part due to his play directing the offense. He had recorded four straight games of double-digit assists, marking the first time in his career he had done so.