The Lakers gave up 44 first quarter points, on 18/24 field goals. That's 75 percent for those of you who are not mathematically inclined. The Lakers also blew a 14 point late third quarter lead, similar to the lead they blew in LA when they lost to the Magic.
Plus, Dwight Howard absolutely dominated in limited minutes. If the Magic just went to him every time, the Lakers would have had trouble. Gasol couldn't come close to defending him, but he did draw a few charges on Howard, who picked up his fifth foul with 5:22 left in the third quarter.
I don't think Andrew Bynum could stop him either, but the Lakers would likely not double team with Bynum playing Howard and Gasol coming from the weak side.
News and notes:
- John Ireland exposed Chris Tucker as a bandwagon fan during his in game interview. Apparently, Tucker roots for the Lakers and the Magic and also sounded like he had no idea who Pau Gasol was. Don't you wish celebrities had to take a sports quiz before being allowed into games?
- I'd love to see Paris Hilton and her excuse for a dog being escorted outside of Staples Center as she tried to flash the security guards to get back in.
- Brian Cook had what was probably his first block of the year and it came against none other than Luke Walton who leads the league in getting layups blocked.
Trivia: The Lakers have used the following three lineups the most this season.
1. Fisher/Bryant/Odom/Walton/Bynum - 272 minutes
2. Fisher/Bryant/Odom/Walton/Brown- 134 minutes
3. Fisher/Bryant/Odom/Radmanovic/Bynum- 129 minutes
Can you guess the +/- for these lineups?
Answer at the bottom of the page.
It's too bad no one got to see Cal State Northridge's game against Pacific on Thursday night. If the game was televised, it would have gone down as one of the best finishes of any game this year. With two seconds left and Northridge up 69-67, senior Jonathan Heard missed two free throws and Pacific rebounded the ball. The Tigers called timeout with 1.3 seconds left. They then threw a length of the court pass that was deflected by two Northridge players straight to Pacific's Michael Kirby who had yet to score in the game. Kirby got the ball about 15 feet from the basket and fired what senior Rai Colston described as a Derek Fisher shot. Boooom! Basket good. Game goes into overtime, Pacific outscores Northridge 9-4 and wins the game.
It was the Matadors second straight loss after starting Big West play 9-0, and was simply heartbreaking. Rebounding from a loss is one thing, but to lose in this manner and come back will take a strong will. Matadors coach Bobby Braswell seems to think this team is equipped to handle adversity. Five come from behind wins are an example, and it would have been six had the final play of regulation turned out differently. Pacific led by as much as 14 at one point.
The team will likely look to its two four year seniors, Heard and Calvin Chitwood for support. But Heard missed the two big free throws against Pacific and Chitwood fouled out in 14 minutes, scoring 0 points and grabbing one rebounds. Both will have to step up if Northridge is to get back on track. A game against UC Davis on Saturday will be a good first step, considering the Aggies don't possess near the firepower of the Matadors, and were blown out in the first game at the Matadome.
DJ Mbenga ladies and gentleman: He says tacos.
As always, an updated Lakers +/- (through 49 games) Lakers: 32-17 6th in West
Up next: at Miami Sunday 12:30 p.m. PST ABC
Lineup No. 1: +106
Lineup No. 2: -33
Lineup No. 3: +61