The Lakers bring their 32-9 record into the Q on Thursday night for a primetime rematch with our Cleveland Cavaliers. LA has only played 15 of their first 41 games on the road and sport an unimpressive 9-6 record in such games. Kobe leads the way with a steady 28.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while Pau Gasol chips in with 17 points and 11 boards. Andrew Bynum began the season playing extremely well but his production has decreased since Gasol’s return. Ron Artest adds better than 12 points per night and does a very good job defending Cleveland’s young King.
If you ain’t first, you’re last everybody. Just ask the great philosopher Reese Bobby. Or ask Kobe Bryant. Or Ron Artest. Or Lamar Odom. They’ve all had a fairly sound experience regarding how it feels to be LAST.
Back on Christmas Day, our Cleveland Cavaliers dropped off in Tinseltown to hand the second best player in the NBA a good ol’ fashion butt whoopin’. Mo Williams and LeBron combined for 54 points and Shaquille O’Neal acted as the Big Witness Protection. Cleveland’s D frustrated the defending champs with a lump-of-coal-in-the-stocking-loss that ended with Laker fans hurling foam fingers onto the floor in the Staples Center.
Luckily, Cleveland fans aren’t nearly that immature and ridiculous because our Cavaliers go down by as much as 13 in the first half. LeBron James is being harassed by Ron Artest, Mo Williams couldn’t hit sand if he fell off a camel in the opening 24 minutes and the Cavaliers trail 52-40 heading into the break.
Artest returns to the floor in the second half looking like he took a few too many swigs of Jack Daniels and the King burns him for 19 points in the third period. The Cavs cut their deficit to six heading into the final period and James remains on the floor for the home stretch.
LeBron turns to the passing game early in the fourth and his teammates prevail. Mo cans a pair of big threes and Delonte West adds a bomb of his own to give Cleveland a one point advantage with 5:30 left to play. The Kobe-LeBron show begins and the two superstars fight ‘til the death.
With the LeBron and Kobe facing off against each other on both ends of the floor, the two teams jockey back-and-forth for any advantage. The Lakers creep out to a three point lead with 5.7 seconds remaining and Cleveland inbounds the ball looking to knot the game at the century mark. The King runs off an Anderson Varejao screen to grab the inbounding pass from Delonte West. He squares up with Kobe and takes a quick jab to the left before sinking a tre as time expires. Hello-OT!
Playing 46 of the 48 minutes in regulation, adrenaline fuels Bron-Bron’s tank as he goes buck wild on his western foes. The King tosses in the final 13 points for the Cavaliers to give him a game-high 51 and his Cavs a two point advantage with the final seconds winding down. Kobe takes the ball at the top of the key and waits for the clock to hit the seven-second mark. He dribbles right, spins back to the left and elevates for a contested game-winner but has the ball slammed from behind by a pursuing Delonte West. Cavs takes the season series with a 115-113 victory.