Leading 50-42 at halftime vs. New York, the Lakers opened the third quarter and missed their first two shots. Those would be two of the rare misses in the period, as the team converted on 19 of their next 24 field goals towards a franchise-record 51 points.
“Obviously, we hit shots,” coach Mike D’Antoni said postgame. “We hit shots all over the place. It’s infectious. When you start taking good shots, they start going in, and even the hard shots start going in. It was one of those nights.”
Overall, the Lakers made 19 of 26 field goals (73.1 percent), 6 of 9 three-pointers (66.7 percent) and 7 of 8 free throws (87.5 percent), and added 11 assists to just one turnover in that third quarter. Outside of Robert Sacre, the nine other players – Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Hill, Chris Kaman, Kent Bazemore, Xavier Henry, Nick Young, Ryan Kelly – that saw court time during that stretch scored, as the Lakers pushed their lead from eight to 28 heading into the final 12 minutes.
*Below is a short chart of the Lakers efficiency from the floor, courtesy of NBA.com/stats.
Even before the record-setting quarter, however, the Lakers reserves – Bazemore, Henry, Young, Kelly and Sacre – helped spur a 16-point swing in the game. After L.A. struggled to get anything going offensively in the first 12 minutes of the game (14 points, 5 of 18 field goals), the five-man unit off the bench was a plus-16 and totaled 20 points on 8 of 9 field goals and 4 of 4 three-pointers in the second quarter.
“I think our energy just picked up,” Kelly said. “Really we ended the first quarter with a couple plays that gave us some energy moving on forward, and then the bench definitely gave us a lift.”
In total, that lineup combination finished the night as a plus-12 and scored 49 points (17 of 27 field goals, 9 of 13 on three-pointers) in 15 minutes of floor time together, according to NBA.com/stats. The Lakers also set a season-high with 82 bench points and 127 points overall in winning their second straight game.
“I mean we’ve shown obviously we can score the basketball pretty well,” Kelly said. “Not quite like tonight, but we have that ability. It always feels good to put one together.”