Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Lakers' Aces Trump Kings!

It started like the game against the Dallas Mavericks two days earlier. The Lakers fell behind the Sacramento Kings by a 7-0 score. Unlike the previous game, it was a road game and also the Lakers didn't come back so quickly. For most of tonight's game the Lakers trailed the Kings by about a 10 point margin, twice falling behind by as many as 13 points late in the third quarter. Even though they were down, you got the sense that the "sleeping giant" was going to wake up sooner or later. I could especially see it in the eyes of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol early in the fourth quarter as the Lakers began their rally. The Kings had a 98-90 lead with 6:30 to play in the fourth quarter. After Kobe missed a jumper, Vladimir Radmanovic grabbed an offensive rebound. The ball found it's way into the hands of Derek Fisher who found a cutting Gasol for a layup. Pau was fouled hard, falling to the ground, but the shot dropped. He and Kobe exchanged high fives and after converting the 3-point play, I sensed a rally was on. Sure enough I was right. That was the start of a 27-7 Lakers run to close out the game, as they won going away by a 117-105 score. By the end of the game, not only had the Lakers taken complete control of the game, but the crowd was chanting "MVP" everytime Kobe touched the ball - and they even did so when as he was being interviewed after the game! The Kings fans hatred of the Lakers is almost on a par with that of the Boston Celtics, so to hear this kind of reaction was very surprising to everyone, most especially Kobe. Without a doubt, Kobe and the Lakers earned the Kings respect last night.

Last night just wasn't about Kobe though as three of the other starters had a big hand in the win. Asides from Kobe's 34 points and 10 rebounds, Gasol had another incredibly good and efficient game scoring 31 points on 10-for-15 shooting and grabbing 10 boards. "L.O." quietly had another double-double, posting 19 points and 12 rebounds. Derek Fisher tallied 17 points, including four three-pointers, and dished out six assists. With the win, the Lakers remain in a vitrual tie with the San Antonio Spurs for the #1 seed in the Western Conference.


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