5 Things I Liked

At the halfway point the Lakers are 22-19 good for 1.5 lead over the Kings for the 8 seed. Kudos to the whole team for finding the fire at halftime because after 2 quarters this looked like it was headed for another rough loss as the Lakers were down by as much as 15

1) Josh Hart. Career high in minutes and steals for Josh Hart and he hit a big three when the game was still hanging in the balance (let’s be honest, it was hanging in the balance for just about all of it). To say Josh Hart has been struggling lately would be to put it mildly. But he came up so big in every other area of the game. 5 steals, 6 assists and 12 big rebounds. If the game ball were mine to give it would go to Josh for how he played all game but especially when we turned the game around in the 3rd. This one’s for you, Josh.

2) Lonzo Ball. My favorite Lonzo stat of the night? 15 shots. He made 50% of his threes (4-8) played his stout defense like he does to the tune of 2 steals and was also pretty solid on the glass for 7 rebounds. Lonzo played with a decisiveness and aggression I would just love to see from him more nights than not, with LeBron, without LeBron. You’re that good, you can shoot, you’ll make it work at the free throw line (or not, yikes!) and you open up a whole new dimension for the team. You and Ingram both gathered the guys after some bad communication plays a couple of times. Loved everything about his game tonight.

3) Michael Beasley: Bench Beast. I’m glad that The Beez is back with the team and he really gives the Lakers a nice look from the 4 spot. Too often we either go small or willowy at the 4 and Michael is such a tough cover for most 4s. I’m sure he has some game shape to get into but you hope that he can start to put the loss of his Mother in his heart and let it fuel his play for the rest of the season. Also glad he only banged his knee.

4) Brandon Ingram’s return to form. Hopefully on a permanent basis. Ingram made great reads, used his length on defense like we need him to and led the team in scoring. Overall a pretty efficient night (12-21 for his season-high 29 points) and he did betterish from the free throw line (5-7) but my favorite part of his game tonight was after he tweaked his ankle he stayed right in the game. Good to see the young guys play through the bumps and bruises of the game.

5) Team coming together. If Lonzo goes off or Brandon scores all those points but the team doesn’t come together this probably ends up a loss. It takes a Josh Hart, a JaVale McGee a Tyson Chandler and 5 man effort on both ends to win games in the NBA, to say nothing of coming down from 15, on the road, in the second game of a back-to-back and without you’re 2 HOFers. This is the best win of the year for the Lakers because of all the noise, all the doubt and the true importance of the game. These games truly matter, again, and it’s a new experience for a lot of these guys. Now is not the time to rest on one’s laurels, though. 41 more to go and some playoff spots to move up.

Go Lakers.