Friday, January 17, 2014

Lakers Were Missing Nick Young, Somehow Win

So, on the day I didn't even bother to check what the score was at anytime during the game, the Lakers somehow pulled out a win over the Boston Celtics, 107-104 despite Rajon Rondo returning for Boston. The Lakers only had 9 players available and only one perimeter player available off of the bench, which was Manny Harris, who just signed a 10 day contract with the team. With Nick Young being suspended and Jordan Hill dodging the bullet, the Lakers were going to need a great game out of somebody to win.

Luckily, Pau Gasol (who finally played 36 minutes like he would on literally almost every other team) came up huge with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists on 9-15 shooting, looking every bit like the former All-Star we all remember. Surprisingly, he wasn't the only player who played well; there were 5 Lakers in double digit scoring. We had Wesley Johnson with 11 points, 11 rebounds. We saw Kendall Marshall score 19 points and drop 14 assists. We had a solid contribution from Jodie Meeks with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Despite only having 9 players available, somehow Jordan Hill only played 11 minutes... my patience wears thin with Mike D'Antoni's rotations; lucky for him, it worked out tonight because Ryan Kelly played like a young Dirk Nowitzki. Kelly finished with 20 points and 4 rebounds off of the bench, making 6-12 shots and helped bring the Lakers back late in the game.

I guess the story here is Rondo's return from an ACL tear he sustained last year. Rondo looked solid enough in the 20 minutes he played, finishing with 8 points and 4 assists. I know I'm overlooking Kelly Olynyk's huge 25 point, 7 assist, 5 rebound game but I'm doing so with good reason; Rondo is one of the premier point guards in the league when healthy and, even though he's on the Celtics, I wish him well. He's an exciting player to watch and has some of the best passing skills this side of Chris Paul.

I'm not entirely sure how to feel about this game. On one hand, the Lakers beat the Celtics, which is always a great thing. On the other hand, the Lakers improved their record, thereby hurting their chances at a Top-5 draft pick. This is a draft where any of the Top-5 players selected could be franchise altering players and I want the Lakers to have the chance to draft Andrew Wiggins, or Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid. For the first time in a long time, a Laker win has not made me 100% happy.