Following Unimpressive Win, Some of the Lakers Travel to Portland

For one of the very few times this season, the vacationing millionaire Kobe Bryant turned the clock back and came through when the Lakers needed him, scoring the game-winning basket, and the team’s last nine points, despite going only two-of-four for the entire fourth quarter, in an improbable and close win over the very bad Indiana Pacers. The Lakers trailed by three with two-and-one-half minutes to go in the game when Kobe began his streak with a couple of free throws, and eventually put in the final basket of the game from four feet out with 12 seconds left.

For the game, the Lakers had yet again a terrible shooting night, hitting a miserable 38%, but they were playing the equally bad Pacers, who, not to be undone, shot their own 36.7%. Indiana also dominated the boards, pulling down 16 offensive rebounds, and out rebounded the Lakers 50 to 37 for the game, which the Lakers actually won at the free throw line. The Pacers hit 13 of 18 free throws, but LA went to the line 30 times, making

good 93.3% of the time for 28 free points. Thus, the likes of ex trojan scum nick young came away as another big contributor despite hitting a miserable 30% from the floor, because he put in a dozen free throws. The fast-fading Jordan HIll also had another awful game, hitting one of his seven shot attempts. But, for local media who worship dripping
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Lakers’ sweat and for fans who think any win, regardless of the competition or the realities of the terrible, talent-less Lakers; roster, is a turing point and the beginning of better things.

Well, tonight the Lakers play in Portland, and they will be without the vacationing millionaire, whose $23 million salary is not enough motivation to get him on an airplane to the Pacific Northwest, and without Wesley Johnson, who suffered a hip injury last night. Wayne Ellington will likely start in Kobe’s stead, but with Johnson out could this possibly mean some playing time for either Ryan Kelly or the newly acquired but yet to be seen Tarik Black? Johnson is scheduled for an MRI today but it sounds like he could miss several games.

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The Trailblazers, possessors of the NBA's second-best record behind only the Warriors, had won four in a row and nine of their last ten before losing to Atlanta on Saturday. However, they have now lost centers Robin Lopez and Joel Freeland to injuries, which will likely mean more playing time for former Lakers' outcast Chris Kaman, who spent last season in Mike D'Antoni's dog house. Kaman is having an excellent comeback season in Portland, scoring 9.7 per game and pulling down
6.3 boards, in only 18.8 minutes per game. That playing time figure should increase drastically, beginning tonight.

Kaman should have not one, but two opportunities to show the center-less Lakers’ what they are missing, as the Trailblazers and Lakers also play in LA on Sunday. In between, the Lakers have games with Orlando and the Clippers. Gotta wonder what Kobe’s vacation plans are for the rest of the week.

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