By Jason Wojciechowski on February 9, 2008 at 6:23 PM
The Lakers avenged an earlier home loss to the Magic by beating them in Orlando. Phil Jackson can't be overly happy with the defense, as the Magic scored 113 points and had seven players in double digits. But when you shoot 53% (50% from three), score 117 points, and only turn the ball over nine times, you can win despite mediocre defense. Further, Orlando didn't do so much after the first quarter, when they scored 44 points -- they averaged 23 points over the next three quarters, which is acceptable.
It was the usual suspects on offense for the Lakers: Kobe had 36, 14 on free throws, and Pau Gasol scored 30 on just fifteen shots. Sasha Vujacic had one of those nights, hitting three of four from downtown in sixteen minutes.
L.A. is in the midst of their rodeo trip (except that there's no rodeo at Staples -- just a quirk of the schedule) of nine games on the road. They're 4-2 so far and have Miami, Charlotte, and Minnesota coming up, so they could quite easily end up with a 7-2 trip. That said, the Miami-Charlotte games are back-to-back, and while the Bobcats are a bad team (18-32) and have lost five in a row (likely six after they play in Detroit on Sunday), road-road back-to-backs are always tough. Amusingly, though, Charlotte actually has a more difficult travel schedule: the Lakers will be bopping up to North Carolina from Miami after a 3:30 start time in Florida, while the Bobcats have a 6:00 game in Detroit the night before.
Elsewhere in the league, why do the Clippers suck so much? Here's a group of good players: Corey Maggette, Chris Kaman, Cat Mobley, Brevin Knight, Al Thornton, Quinton Ross, Sam Cassell ... what's the matter with this group? Why have they only won a third of their games? They did beat Toronto last night without the suspended Cassell, though.
Jason Kidd had another triple double. Ho hum. (He also hit four threes, which is pretty good for a guy who shoots it at 33% from there for his career.)
Sacramento shot fifty free throws, compared to just 23 for Utah -- how on earth did Jerry Sloan not end up with a technical in this game?
On the Heavyweight front, San Antonio needed overtime to beat the Knicks by six. Speaking of ho hum, Tim Duncan had 21 and 14.
2007-08 Current beltholder: San Antonio Spurs
Next title match: at Boston on Sunday! That should be fun, with the two top Heavyweight teams going at it, but it probably won't be much of a game if Kevin Garnett can't go.
2007-08 Title Bout Records: