Lakers vs Toronto. A microcosm of their season so far.

The title of the latest official LA Lakers blog is ‘Lakers beat Toronto, barely.’ There is simply no better way to express how the game went. Everything that was outlined in my last blog as to why the Lakers have been struggling was highlighted again in this game.

They started the game in their usual way- passing to the big men and running their offence through the paint. At the end of the 1st quarter, the Lakers were up 34-19 and Gasol was experiencing his best start to an NBA game this season. 8 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. The fact that Gasol then only went on to score 16 points shows partly why the Lakers only just hung on to win. The 1st quarter was the only quarter the Lakers won. I ask you to think why this is. The answer is obvious.

Kobe had another low percentage game, shooting only 9 of 23. Even though he scored 27 points there were plenty of times when he took the game into his own hands. The fact that he scored with 4 seconds left to put the Lakers into a 2 point lead shows 2 things-
1) He will continue to take just as many shoots since he has the capacity and ability to drop 40 points every night.
2) He is, still, Kobe Bryant and capable of coming up trumps when it matters regardless of how poor a game he has been having.

Derek Fisher finished the game with 2 assists.

2 assists. I adore Fisher and he really is one of my all time favourite players. But the starting point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers should not finish with 2 assists.

Ron Artest has begun to cement his position in the Lakers, although he still only ended on 9 points during his 26 minutes, nothing close to what he should be able to achieve. With his physicality and history of averaging almost 20 points a game, he is the player to step up and start finishing in double figures to take pressure off the big 3 (Bynum, Gasol and Kobe).

The Lakers bench, again, had a terrible game. They scored only 24 points compared to Toronto’s 40.

Finally, Andrew Bynum who is starting in the All-Star game, has hardly been showing the statistics to warrant his selection. After a less then impressive game against a New York side that was without Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudimeire, he failed to impress against Toronto. During 39 minutes of basketball (the most of any player) he managed to score 16 points, grab 9 rebounds and turn the ball over 3 times. Hardly the stats for an All-Star. Even with this mediocre performance, Bynum, Gasol and Kobe were still the only 3 Lakers to end the game in double point figures.

I end on a slightly more positive note. During the last week Derrick Caracter was cut from the Lakers roster leaving one spot open to a new player. After the franchise attempted to sign Chris Paul and even Jeremy Lin (supposedly) in the off season, hopefully the management team have realised the need to sign a player. According the reports just coming out today, a private training evaluation took place with the 30 year old Gilbert Arenas during the Toronto game. The general Manager of the Lakers oversaw this session.

Arenas averaged over 20 points and 5 assists a game before his knee operation last year and seems like an ideal short term solution for the Lakers. Due to the waiver he signed with his current club, he would be very cheap to get hold of as well.

One fun fact to end on-

Why does Gilbert Arenas wear the number 0 on his jersey?

Because that’s the number of NBA minutes his High School coach said he would play.

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