Despite their 126-122 win over the Sacramento Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers are still the team with the worst record in the Western conference. However, beating a “direct rival” for avoiding being rock bottom was one of the few pleasing moments they’ve been though for quite some time.
But the Lakers always beat the Kings, winning 16 of their last 20 against Sacramento, losing three of those games away from home. The Kings held a lead until late in the game, when MarShon Brooks brought some of that offense and potential everyone have been talking about for so long, scoring 23 points off the bench.
The big star, a surprising one at that (everyone is a surprise this season for the Lakers when they have a good game), was Jordan Farmar. The backup point guard scored 30 points off the bench to go with his 7 assists. Pau Gasol, despite all of his bitterness towards head coach Mike D’Antoni, scored 22 points to go with 5 rebounds and 6 assists, usually the only frontcourt player on the floor as both teams tried to play ultra-small ball for as much as possible.
It was great for those looking to see points and not a lot of defense or thinking. Ryan Kelly did get 16 minutes, but he’s a stretch forward, which makes him work in D’Antoni’s system. Jordan Hill, Chris Kaman and Robert Sacre got a combined 15 minutes in the game, on a team that shows more than anything just how meaningless true centers are for some teams in this league, and how the actual big man is becoming an extinct, rare animal.
Farmar had only the second 30-point game by a Lakers player this season (Nick Young, who didn’t play, is the other). Kendall Marshall didn’t score for a third consecutive game, but he did finish with 10 assists and is averaging 9.4 dishes a game this season. Jodie Meeks, in the lineup, was 8-of-8 from the field, making the most of the high pace, no defense game, scoring 22 points.
That’s the best the Lakers can hope for this season: A win over another tanking, close to lifeless team. Rudy Gay led the way with 32 points, and we saw some impressive shooting from Isiah Thomas (26 points) and Derrick Williams, scoring 26 points and serving as the team’s big man for most of the game. However, against any other normal defense there’s no chance we would have seen the Kings shooting 50% from the field.
And the same goes for the Lakers, who shot 60% from the field and an even more impressive 70.4% from beyond the arc. That is a new franchise record for accuracy from long range, while their 19 three pointers in total are tied for the franchise record.
From now until the NBA draft, there will be these small moments of happiness for these players, their coach and the fans, who knew this season wasn’t going to be as successful as in the past, but no one actually thought things would get this bad. The Lakers are trying to avoid posting the worst record since moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, and must go 11-12 the rest of the way to avoid that humiliating bench mark. Anything better might actually be considered a success after everything that’s happened.