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News » Lakers can smile after rare laugher


Lakers can smile after rare laugher


Lakers can smile after rare laugher
Things might have been more interesting if Gilbert Arenas had been here, maybe a challenge or two actually arising if Washington's starting center hadn't also been sidelined the entire season.

But nothing could save the Wizards from the Lakers' whims at Staples Center, where a Basketball game devolved into a punch line, the Lakers parlaying a 72-point first half into a laughable 117-97 victory Thursday.

The Wizards never held a lead, and never really deserved one, the Lakers shooting 69.2% in the first half on the way to a 25-point halftime advantage.

It became a somewhat atypical example of the Lakers pummeling another team three fathoms below them in the standings. (A night earlier, for example, the Lakers waltzed around the court with the Clippers for the better part of four quarters before putting them away.)

The victory also put the Lakers (34-8) atop the other 29 teams in the season-long race for the league's best record.

A glance at the calendar might have indicated which way this would go: Exactly three years ago, Kobe Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors.

He wasn't phenomenal against Washington (9-33), but really, he didn't need to be. Selected to start in his 11th All-Star game earlier in the day, Bryant had 11 points, five assists and four rebounds against the Wizards and did not play in the fourth quarter.

Andrew Bynum, however, extended his impressive run to two games, gathering 23 points and 14 rebounds a night after squashing the Clippers' centers with 42 points and 15 rebounds.

Against the Clippers, he was dominant, becoming the first Laker not named Kobe or Shaq to score 40 points in a game since Glen Rice in May 1999.

Against the Wizards, who are without Brendan Haywood, he settled for being active and efficient (eight-for-12 shooting).

"I think that's a good sign for us," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

Pau Gasol continued to build his own All-Star nomination, which, if successful, would be announced next week with the rest of the reserves. He had 18 points and six rebounds in only 28 minutes.

By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the Lakers holding a 97-68 lead, there were only a few items of interest.

How many points would Javaris Crittenton, the Lakers' first-round pick in 2007, score? (10.)

What about former USC standout Nick Young? (Not as many as Crittenton -- four points.)

Not everything went the way Lakers fans wanted.

The gasps of anticipation whenever Sun Yue launched a shot were never rewarded. Sun missed all three of his attempts. He also committed three fouls in five minutes.

The game was all but over 24 minutes after it started, the Lakers reaching their season-high for points in a half and concluding the second quarter with Bryant's no-look pass to Bynum for a dunk.

Of course, the tests get a little more complex from here.

San Antonio will be here Sunday, and just over the horizon, at the end of a six-game trip that begins next Friday, are measuring sticks at Boston and Cleveland.

Bynum would fast-forward only as far as Sunday, and a rematch with Tim Duncan.

"I'm looking forward to that game because we definitely owe them one," he said.

"They were able to kind of get us with a last-second win [last week]."

--

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 23, 2009

 

 
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