A nice victory for the Lakers, and one that was even easier than the 21-point final margin would suggest. Once the Lakers took a 23-11 lead with more than four minutes left in the first quarter, it was essentially over.
Some quick postgame thoughts…
– Kobe Bryant was hurt? He scored 32 points in 37 minutes and did not appear limited, in the least bit, by the groin muscle he hurt Friday night in Oakland. Best of all for Bryant and the Lakers, he got to rest for the latter part of the fourth quarter, with the Lakers in control. A good night for Bryant, who was able to draw fouls with pump-fakes. That’s something not every team falls for, but the Clippers certainly did tonight.
– A look at the numbers will suggest that Chris Kaman (18 points, 16 rebounds) outplayed Andrew Bynum (14 points, nine rebounds) but look closer. Bynum dominated Kaman in the first quarter, and that’s essentially when the game was decided. Laker fans have to be pleased with the progress of Bynum, who is showing the aggressiveness that could lead to him being an elite center in the NBA before long.
– Welcome back, Luke Walton. He made all six of his shots from the field, for 15 points. If he can go back to being a consistent 12-to-15-point scorer for the Lakers, that’s huge. Best of all, Walton seemed to regain his confidence from the perimeter, and that will be important going forward.
– The Lakers won despite an off night from Derek Fisher, who had a foul-plagued four-point, five-assist effort in 15 minutes. Jordan Farmar had seven points and Sasha Vujacic had 14 points.
– We should learn a lot about the Lakers this week. A four-game trip takes them to Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia and New York. There’s no reason the Lakers can’t win at least three of those games. Will they finally show some consistency and get on a nice run before Christmas?