Weird Ending

or All’s Well That Ends Well…for Lakers fans!

While one can feel something akin to pity for the Orlando Magic both as a team and a franchise when it comes to the Lakers, last night’s win was a good lesson in not looking gift horses in the mouth. While I’m sure the NBA will address rule 13E-9-2 in the off season it was in full effect at STAPLES Center last night. With .6 seconds remaining in the contest a pass (that Brook Lopez actually deflected) sailed out over the court and the clock started running before the ball touched anyone. NBA rules state the clock will not start until an inbounded ball touches a player on either team. That didn’t happen and Lordy Lordy did the Magic cry foul.

Had this happened to us we, too, would have howled at the moon like a pack of lonely wolves…but it didn’t. But to hear Aaron Gordon tell it in his post game this outcome was all but fixed. No offense to a promising young player but…please. That .6 seconds would have resulted in a wild fling and if you watch the replay of the play in real time Brook deflects the pass which would have sealed the win, regardless. So now we can all move on and await the announcement from the League that rule 13E-9-2 has been changed.

In terms of the game, that was another great 44 minute effort. Those last 4 minutes though…woof. This is the issue with our young team, keeping that great effort and focus consistent for 48 minutes. While we may have pulled off the win I would imagine most of the film session will focus on those last few minutes where we coughed up a big lead and lost our intensity on defense and our execution on offense. Isiah Thomas Jr. chalked it up to being a young team but he, KCP and Brook Lopez were all on the floor for that collapse. Those are our veterans, can’t lay it all on Kuzma and Lonzo’s feet there, IT.

At any rate, a win is a win and Laker fans will take it. Kyle Kuzma had his best game as a pro putting up a solid 20 points and 10 rebounds along with 3 steals, a block and an assist. It feels like Kyle has found his legs again and has better balanced his penchant for scoring with the coaching staff’s wishes for him to involve his teammates more. Kyle scored from everywhere and he did it well.

It was needed n a night when Randle was dealing with an illness. Despite that he put up a double-double, too. He didn’t play at all in the 4th quarter and it was obvious that our defense suffered for it. Randle’s absence in the 4th was definitely a major factor in the team coughing up the lead and will only further serve to cement him as a future Laker. Having both Ingram out for the game and Randle out for the 4th while still pulling off the win is a major kudo for this young team.

Game ball goes to Brook Lopez who played more like the player I thought we’d see all year. He was making it happen from the low post and it anchored our offense for a critical stretch. When he plays like that it’s easy to see how he could fit into our future plans, unfortunately games like this have been very few and far between. He also created a new NBA record for most points scored by a center without a single rebound. In his words, “fun fact”.

Great to turn it right back around after a tough loss, got another tough game coming up on Friday on a team we’re, technically, chasing for a playoff spot. Beating Denver would be a great way to keep us in the playoff convo for another week and every week we’re in that convo, no matter how distantly, is only a good thing for the franchise.
Go Lakers.