Buzzing across the East Coast from New York City (more on the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets coming soon) to America’s capital, BasketballBuzz was in D.C. yesterday for more than just checking out the White House and Lincoln and Martin Luther memorials.
The Lakers where in town as the Wizards hosted them and a lot of purple and gold 24’s, which either suggests there’s a lot of die-hard Laker nation fans making the frequent flyer miles like this writer from England, or you really can find Laker fans everywhere (just like a small town in the U.K….and we aren’t talking about Kentucky (stay up Julius Randle)).
Kobe didn’t disappoint either going off, doing work and putting in a clinic early with 15. To hell with father time and the critics. And what’s all this “Vintage Kobe” talk? He’s always been this way. Putting on an epic show of crossovers and fadeaways the man who is about to pass Michael Jordan at number 3 on the all-time scoring list (to just be behind former teammate Karl Malone and fellow Laker legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) really does care. Even Mike wasn’t this prolific in his latter D.C. days. Standing on his own like his new 30,000 points and 6,000 assists record the Mamba went off. Kobe brought more excitement to both sides of the Verizon Centre audience then a new ‘Jurassic World’ and ‘Star Wars’ trailer combined. The force was truly awoken.
Truly. After a dismal 1-13 start in the West, the Lakers have gone four unbeaten in the East coming off a big win in Motown. Still the Lakers where facing off against the Easten Conference’s second best D.C. Wizards and their ‘House Of Guards’ John Wall and Bradley Beal. It was about to get realer then Kevin Spacey in ‘Call Of Duty’ for this modern warfare.
Kobe’s 29 was prolific, but it came without a field goal in the second half. The Wizards waved the wand and put the clamps on the Lakers as Kobe had to earn his 11 from charity. Nick Young was the sixth man spark plug for the Lakers, off the bench like he’s been since coming back from his injury. Five D.C. threes and 21 points in 24 and a half minutes was inspired. As was Ronnie Price’s all green circles 11. Still a red cross for the interior design as Carlos Boozer’s point-sake could have come with more colourful aggression in the paint and the insane zero from Jeremy Lin hurt this team more than they cared to admit as they shot 38.8% to Washington’s 44.4.
Although the Lake Show stop-plugged an 11 point deficit to four in the fourth, after two horrendous turnovers the Wizards went on a 14-2 run punctuated by power dunks. The ridiculous foul call on Wall against Bryant sparked it all off. For the record even this Lakers fan can admit that Wall couldn’t have been further from Kobe if he was in the parking lot…of the STAPLES Centre.
Wall’s double, double of 17 points and an inspired 15 assists was the catalyst. Still the spark came from monster Marcin Gortat who had 21 and 11 rebounds and ferocious dunks that upped the epic ante of his passion cries. Get this guy in the ballot. He is an All-Star. You may even say this Wiz team that was paced by Bradley Beal’s 27 have a big three. They for sure have big name strength in depth as Rasual Butler and Paul Pierce (who left with an injury but the L.A. born and Boston bred Celtic legend had a nice, nostalgic, vintage duel and fun, trash talk session marking Bryant). Kris Humphries huge 20 boards also kept the possession in Washington’s favour as the ball fell their way to an 111-95, closer than it looked call in a scrappy but stellar game.
In town tonight Tom Hanks may be switching on the lights of President Obama’s, White House Christmas tree with the help of Ne-Yo, but last night the Wizards turned out the lights as they illuminated the Lakers.
Now in this mission impossible season how long before Kobe Bryant and his Lakers fuse burns out?