Down by seven at halftime, the Lakers fought back, dominated the third quarter, but then blew a fourth quarter lead to lose by a single point.
Looking at the stats alone, you’d think they never had a chance, shooting threes at 25% and hitting barely half their free throws. In the end, it was the free throws that did them in, missing their last four in the last two minutes of the game.
That and Kobe’s injury.
While he did score 28 points on 11 of 23, he only took one three-pointer, missing it, and committed eight turnovers. Clearly, he did not have his normal control of the ball, and his injury absolutely affected his play. His last-ditch shot in the final seconds that was blocked by Luol Deng might otherwise have given the Lakers the win.
Two bright sports for the Lakers were the play of Troy Murphy and Steve Blake. Blake was the second best Laker on the court today (yea, after Kobe.5) and is establishing himself as the point guard in critical times.* Murphy, who when healthy is a true star, hit 60% of his shots and pulled down eight boards in only 22 minutes.
In a game where neither Jason Kapono nor Matt Barnes played, the inept second coming of Dell Harris (that’s Mike Brown, folks) wasted 24 game minutes on the non-entity of Ron Weird Meta Tag Peace Artest thingy.
This is exactly they type of game that the Lakers won during the Phil Jackson years, and lost under Dell Harris. Be prepared for many more under the second coming.
*Edit to add: I should have mentioned here that Derrick Rose’s game winning lay-in was on a play in which he easily drove around the stone-wall defense of Derek Fisher.