Home > Uncategorized > Lakers Beat Nets in Brooklyn, Shorthanded!

Lakers Beat Nets in Brooklyn, Shorthanded!

What a weird season for The Los Angeles Lakers: High expectations  for a team assembled with future “Hall of Fame” players who many thought would contend for the championship this season have been met with unexpected results – mostly bad (23-26); but, while tonight’s victory was not easy, it was largely due to the presence of Earl “EZ” Clark on the basketball court! He’s been playing well, ever since he was discovered sitting at the end of The Lakers bench! If Jordan Hill hadn’t gone out with a season-ending injury to his hip a couple weeks ago, I’m not sure the coaching staff would’ve ever “discovered” the value of Earl Clark! I wouldn’t be surprised if The Phoenix Suns fired their coach in recent weeks due to the mistake of allowing somebody they had drafted in the 1st Round a couple years ago to getaway without a clue about how good he is! As Lakers radio announcer John Ireland recently said: “The Lakers appear to have found some magic!”  Earl Clark is great!

Final Score: Lakers 92, Nets 83 (Recap).

Kobe Bryant had an off night, but at least he played! Tonight, The Black Mamba was “Kobe The Warrior” (21-8-4 plus 4 steals). Pau Gasol played, except for the last 4 minutes – exiting with an ankle injury (MRI scheduled for tomorrow). But more notably was the absence of Dwight Howard (still) after a procedure last Saturday was supposed to allow a lessened degree of pain to occur in his right shoulder from a re-injured labrum (tear) that he could tolerate. Last, but not least, Metta World Peace had become involved in a scuffle Sunday @ Detroit with Brandon Knight that many thought would have his Flagrant 1 reduced to a mere personal foul: well, the NBA suspended him for one game instead! Say what? Don’t they know…

Brooklyn’s Brooke Lopez seems to “own” The Lakers. And he was very dominant tonight. They have some really good players: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace… Matter of fact, Gerald Wallace is one of my favorite players in the NBA! But Deron Williams & Joe Johnson were consistently inconsistent. All-Stars? Future Hall of Fame players? The Brooklyn Nets played well, in the 1st Quarter. But there were some missed shots by The Lakers, some rebounding woes… and then The Lakers found a new gear: I think it started when Antawn Jamison got tired of being manhandled, out-hustled for loose balls and just seemed to say he had had enough of it as the 1st Quarter came to a close. Then, the 2nd Quarter started: I don’t know what to think…

Somehow Mike D’Antoni had enough nerve to put a crazy lineup out on the court to start the 2nd Quarter that worked! Rob Sacre, Earl Clark, Jodie Meeks, Steve Blake and Chris Duhon actually played well! Mostly. Well, mostly Earl Clark just dazzled – he was everywhere! He’s so smooth, like Jamaal “Silk” Wilkes, that his unexpected alterations in movement make monumental problems for the defense as their ability to overcome their false sense of security in leaving him alone to begin with usually results in him looking like one of the bright, rising stars in the league! Jamison seemed to accept a role tonight defensively that he has seldomly shown an interest in pursuing in his long NBA career – until, well, tonight. Steve Blake was “red hot” to start the 4th Quarter. But the win, although expected to be fought to the death, with teeth & nails when Pau Gasol was lost late in the contest was relatively easy with Earl Clark easing the ball into the hoop repeatedly in the final minutes!

At 78-78, with Pau Gasol heading to the locker room with trainer extraordinaire Gary Vitti, Brooke Lopez made a tomahawk slam for a basket that brought down the house! Wow! But not to be outdone, Kobe Bryant even stirred up the “away” crowd with a rousing dunk of his own! Wow! In between, Earl Clark sunk 2 pressure free throws to tie things up at 80-80.  Lopez then hit a pull up jumper to again tie it at 82-82 but fouled on the play by Earl Clark he hit the “and-1” for The Nets’ last points of the game with 2-1/2 minutes to play for an 83-82 Nets lead. The Lakers then scored 10 unanswered points to close out the game for the victory! Jamison hit a shot only Antawn could hit, with another of his wide array of shot attempts that somehow went in. Later, Lopez missed a tough shot he had been making most of the night due to tough defense by Clark. Kobe drove to the basket again – scoring over Gerald Wallace, again! And then Brooke Lopez was stopped by Clark again who came down the court after that nice defensive effort to be rewarded by a Steve Nash no-look pass for an uncontested pick & pop shot found wide open that was all net! Game over: 88-83, 1:11 left – but, The Lakers totally dismantled The Nets, shredding them of any self-respect that I’m surprised didn’t result in another melee… 

Boston, here we come! What a Grammy road trip! If only… never mind. What a great game! The NBA is “Fan”-tastic! Is Lakers basketball surging into a style that will carry them into the playoffs? I hope so. But this next game? It might not be that EZ to win with our big men dropping like flies! My prayers are with this team, as it continues to try to perform at peak performance amidst a series of situations that have made winning this season anything but easy.

I’m just going to enjoy this win, tonight – for now.

Go, Lakers!

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