After winning an ugly game against the Washington Wizards last week, everyone was saying “well a win is a win and we will take them how we get them.”
If I have to venture a guess, I’m not sure many people are happy with the way this particular win against the Charlotte Bobcats turned out. Tuesday night’s 101-100 victory against one basketball’s worst teams seemed like of game of “who wants it the least.”
The Lakers, who were up by double-digits early in the game, found themselves down by as much as 18 in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for them, they were going up against a team that ranks in the bottom half of the league in points per game (18th) and points allowed (30th). The Bobcats let the Lakers go on a 30-4 run to regain the lead with about 3 minutes left in the game.
An unlucky bounce for Charlotte on a shot that could have won the game allowed Lakers Nation to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Other than the obvious plus of coming away with a win, the best part of the game was to see Pau Gasol back in the rotation. It was clear that the rest Gasol took was much needed, but the big man isn’t quite where he needs to be.
“You know he hasn’t played in two weeks,” Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I thought the first 5-8 minutes of each half he was really good, but then it kind of went downhill a bit when he got tired.”
Kobe Bryant, who has publicly been a big Gasol supporter, said it was good to have him back on the court: “He makes the game so much easier for everybody.”
After spending eight games on the bench watching his team, Gasol was happy to return to action.
“I couldn’t wait to be back out there,” Gasol said. “I have a ways to go on my conditioning and my touch, but it felt good.”
Something else that was good to see was how the Lakers got back in the game. The team collectively played good defense. Their EFT (Energy, Focus, Toughness) level went way up as the clock ticked away.
As many of us have wondered already this season, what will it take for them to play at this level consistently?
Dwight Howard says it’s a process: “The biggest thing we did tonight, was we talked a lot on defense [and] we were helping each other.”
Howard admits, however, that the defense still needs some work.
“There were a couple possessions where we didn’t help,” he said. “Now we have to close out a possession and everybody has to come back and help [rebound].”
The Lakers don’t play again until Saturday, so they will get some much-needed rest. They’ll need it, as next up are the Golden State Warriors, who are currently five games ahead of the Lakers and have won eight of their last 10 games.
You can follow JD Carrere on Twitter at @SportsNetJunkie.