5 Things

Quality win over a tough opponent last night! Great team effort from everyone and our superstar duo came up super big. Really fun game to watch, as well, back and forth all night long, Nuggets and Lakers trading punches until, finally, the Lakers broke through and landed the final blow.

1) LeBron and Anthony’s big night. Anthony Davis was a beast last night, an unstoppable force of nature from everywhere on the court. His final line of 33 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals was surpassed only by LeBron James’ triple-double (32 points, 12 rebounds, 14 assists, and 2 of his 3 turnovers were offensive fouls). When your best players show up ready to play, not making sloppy passes or lazy reads and play with intensity on both ends it’s hard for the rest of the team not to follow suit. While they may not bring home hardware indicative of their role an importance to our team, LeBron and AD are the Laker MVPs and DPOY every night and when they play like it we’re tough to beat.

2) Alex muthafreaking Caruso! In 22 minutes of action Caruso was able to influence the game to an incredible degree. Whether making great reads with the ball, playing his gold star defense, or just playing his smart, savvy brand of basketball Alex was instrumental in helping the Lakers bring home the W last night. He led the team in +/- by a wide margin (+23 with the closest Laker being KCP’s +10), scored 10 points on 7 shots, made a 3, dished 6 assists and grabbed 6 boards. It was no surprise that teams came calling about Caruso at the trade deadline, I’m not sure there’s a player who brings to the court what Alex does for the price of his services.

3) KCP grinding through it. Mr. Pope had been in a bit of a shooting slump, had seen his minutes played shrink over the last few games and generally looked nothing like the player some clamored to have starting over Bradley or Green. Last night he eventually found his shooting tough (although the overall result 3-9, 3-7 from three tho, wasn’t all that pretty) but his defense was absolutely tenacious. KCP helped stall the Nugget backcourt which had been blowing past Rondo and, to a lesser degree, Danny Green. Coupled with Caruso they stymied the perimeter attack of Denver and helped turn the momentum the Lakers way in the second half.

4) Dwight Howard in full bore beast-mode. Dwight was a monster in the paint and generally did a great job into forcing Jokic into tough shots without fouling him…too much. While he was only credited with 6 FGA (making 4) he put a lot more pressure than that on the Nugget’s frontline. His 12 FTA were fun, too as he started hot from the line but cooled off late. His 6-12 from the stripe was garnered from him utterly controlling the glass on both ends as he pulled down 5 offensive rebounds and forced Denver to foul him in lieu of easy dunks. He was so effective he started the 2nd half and put McGee on the pine for all but the first half.

5) All-Star Break and the rest that comes with it (for most Lakers). Save for James, Davis and the coaching staff the Lakers are taking some time off. Here’s hoping that they all come back refreshed and ready to ball at an even higher level than they’ve shown. Yes, this team has weaknesses and holes, but so to does the rest of the NBA. While we may not have a video game style, Golden State Warriors with Durant kind of line up it’s also true that no other team does. In James and Davis we have perhaps the two most complimentary superstars in the Association. We have quality, playoff tested veterans and in Kuzma and Caruso we have young guys with their fair share of moxie. I like us in a 7 game series against anyone, some teams will be harder to beat than others but all of them have a soft spot that we can exploit. Put your feet up and come back ready to ball, Lakers, we’re with you all the way.

Go Lakers.