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Bobcats 131, Lakers 124 (3-OT): Blogcat's Take

Oooh, it’s the lights…action…Hollywood! The Lakers were in town Friday night--the much improved Lakers. Sure, Lamar Odom’s out, but Luke Walton’s been much better this year, Kwame Brown’s been, um, less worse, Andrew Bynum has played like an experienced veteran (or at least as if he’s of legal drinking age)...Actually the only real disappointment has been off-season acquisition Vladimir Radmanovic, who should be doing a lot more for this team other than looking eerily like a Bee-Gee (who’s in his entourage anyway, James Spader?). In fact, Coach Phil Jackson called him a “space cadet” a few days ago, and folks if Phil Jackson is calling you out for your detrimental quirkiness, you’ve got a problem.

Radmanovic’s blow-dried uselessness aside, we were going to need all hands on deck for this one, which means that Sean May IS…looking very dapper in business casual on the bench—doh! Plus Brevin Knight’s groin pull has somehow spread to his abdominals—did the doctors not catch it in time? This has got to be the world’s first malignant groin pull. BK will be out for…for…forever, I fear. Jeff McInnis never looked so good.

Anyway, if there’s been any pattern to the Bobcats losses this season, it’s been their victimization at the hands of a shot-happy superstar—you know, your Paul Pierce’s, Rashard Lewis’s, etc. Good thing the Lakers don’t have anyone like that on their team! Oh, wait a second…Yes sir, Kobe Bryant was in full effect Friday night, putting up 58 points and firing more shots than my nephew in a game of Call of Duty. KB24 attempted 45 field goals, when no one else on the Lakers took more than 10—makes one really appreciate the intricacies of the Triangle Offense.

The Lakers raced to a 30-18 first quarter lead based on Bryant’s 16 points, but with Kobe on the bench to start the second we were able to even it at 60 by halftime (although I suppose, theoretically, it could have also been due to Smush Parker sitting out an extended time). Thus the trend was established. Having watched An Inconvenient Truth earlier in the day, I think you could have made a graph showing the correlation between the “Lakers Lead” vs. “Kobe in the Game” that would make Al Gore proud.

On the other hand, the Bobcats didn’t just accidentally score 133 points. Playing at a pace that would leave Gilbert Arenas wheezing, the Bobcats had some superstar performances of their own. Normally, accusing someone of getting more rebounds than points would be considered an insult, but not when Emeka Okafor grabs 25 boards and scores 22. Raymond Felton hung 22 points as well and issued 15 dimes (not to mention playing almost 57 minutes), and Gerald Wallace has become a focused, fine-tuned machine, emblemized by his groomed-to-a-perfect-cone beard. 28 points, 8 rebounds, a block, and a couple of steals for G-Dub, and only the Bite of the Mamba managed to bring him down when he fouled out covering Bryant in the first OT (which reminds me: special props to Bernard Robinson. How would you like to sit on the bench the whole game, then come in in OT and have to cover Bryant?).

And once again, Matt Carroll was HUGE with 27 points (4/7 on 3-pointers, 7/7 on the foul line) and 8 rebounds. Perhaps even more amazingly, he caused Ronny Turiaf to lose his temper and rage at little Sasha Vujacic when Carroll blew by him in the second quarter for a layup. Wow, that’s the first time I ever saw the happy-go-lucky Turiaf look like something other than the next contestant on the Price is Right.

Really, the only down note was Adam Morrison, who shot just 1/15. He was 0/5 from the 3-point range but stubbornly kept firing away until Coach Bickerstaff finally had to yank him; it was like dragging a gambling addict away from a slot machine. I have faith in Adam, though—he’s soaking up the experience and playing hard.

I can live with about 1 win a week, especially when most of the games are at least watchable. Heck, that’s more than I can say for the Panthers this year…