After losing twice in the preseason and then dropping their first two regular season games, the Lakers will take anything right now, even a 96-71 win over the very average Jazz. Okay, so the Jazz aren’t any good. But a win is a win, and the Lakers defense was on point yesterday. For the game, the visitors shot a pathetic 32 precent and made just one shot from behind the arc. All you need to know about Utah’s night could be seen in Al Jefferson‘s line. He played hard, gobbled up 10 boards, but made just two of his 16 shots. In one stretch in the first half, Utah missed 23 of 25 shots, and he Lakers went on a 13-0 run in the second quarter to give themselves some breathing room, punctuated by Metta World Peace‘s best dunk in probably four years. Later in the second, Kobe (26 points, eight rebounds) shook Raja Bell back to 2006 and then dunked all over Jefferson. Everything felt right in the world again: The Lakers running away and hiding in the Staples Center behind a suffocating defense, and the star power of Pau Gasol (20 points, nine rebounds, five blocks) and Bryant … Did Kevin Harlan top even himself last night? Metta…World…PEEEEEEACCCCEEE!! … We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Remember when Devin Harris was good? … Kevin Love is going to start mashing heads. While he went berserk in Minnesota’s 98-95 loss in Milwaukee (31 points, 20 rebounds), half of his teammates played like they were hungover. Michael Beasley (15 points) had two straight possessions in the second quarter where he lazily turned it over. He looked like he couldn’t wait to get out of Milwaukee. Played like it too. Darko might’ve been even worse. He was a zombie. The Bucks pushed the lead out in the second quarter, and then in the third, they ripped it open, getting whatever they wanted offensively. Three minutes into the third, they were up by nearly 20. For the Bucks, Brandon Jennings played one of his better games, going for 24 and seven dishes while making half his shots. Of course, it ended up being Beasley who took and missed a jump shot down four in the final minute, sealing ‘Sota’s fate. Love had one final look at it, but missed a three at the buzzer … During the first few minutes of the game, Luke Ridnour (17 points) hit a spinning floater off one leg from three at the shot clock buzzer and the Bucks’ color guy said “We’ve seen him do that too many times. You’ve got to play him all the way down to the buzzer.” Ridnour has done some things in his career, but we’d never call him a repeated shot-making extraordinaire … One night after their emotional win over the Lakers, Sacramento turned in a typical performance at Portland: They stayed close for a while, and then gradually lost steam and fell behind in the second half. By the fourth quarter, Gerald Wallace (25 points, three missed shots) and LaMarcus Aldridge (24 points, five missed shots) had done enough to send the Kings home without any of their royalty, beating them 101-79. For most of the first half, it felt like an old ABA game: Guys were firing up shots at will, losing the ball, getting it back, no semblence of offense outside of the pick-n-roll … DeMarcus Cousins isn’t shooting well so far (7-for-18 last night, 16 points, 11 rebounds) but we’re loving his new approach. He might’ve already taken more charges through two games than he did all of last season … And Atlanta embarrassed the Nets 106-70 in a game that was so ugly, we couldn’t even watch. When Vladimir Radmanovic and MarShon Brooks lead all scorers with 17 a piece, it’s not a good sign … We’re out like Chalmers’ starting gig.
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