As we kinda thought, rumors of the Lakers’ rebirth have been overblown.
With last night’s start of the “Grammy Tour” in Phoenix, the Lakers reverted to the team we envisioned in early fall and that we watched through the first half of the NBA season. The Team of Dreams that had won three in a row did it with unselfish play, Kobe shooting less and assisting more, with improved defense, deliberate offense, and most astoundingly, bench scoring. Well, all of those improvements dissipated into a fine mist by last night’s fourth period.
Leading by ten after three periods, the “New” Kobe led a fourth quarter snooze, going two of seven and compiling zero assists, as Phoenix outscored the Lakers by 16, for a six point
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|win. The bench that had actually been outscoring opponent benches contributed 29 for the game, a total almost matched by the Suns’ Michael Beasley alone (27), as Phoenix reserves scored 38. Kobe’s steak of double-digit assist totals ended, but there was no commensurate increase in his scoring. As a team, the Lakers hit less than 30% on threes, led by the abysmal performance of the meta-tag artest psycho thingy, who was three of ten on threes, and Kobe’s zero of three. Also, the Earl Clark who had been playing so well didn’t find his way to Phoenix, scoring all of five points.|
The nearsighted Lakerphile would likely say Deeee-Wight re-injuring his shoulder with seven minutes to play was the reason for the loss (the Lakers were ahead by five when he left the game), but it was much more than that. See above. Also in the those last seven minutes, the team committed five turnovers and made two of ten shots.
They’re off to a good start to that 3-4 or at best 4-3 on the trip that we predicted.