Found December 19, 2012 on Fox Sports West:
LOS ANGELES History was made and a bit of redemption was gained forLaker failings of the past at Staples Center on Tuesday night. Kobe Bryant, 34, set an NBA record by being the oldestplayer in NBA history to score 30 or more points in seven consecutive games asthe Lakers squeaked out a 101-100 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. During the defeat, the Bobcats Gerald Henderson Jr. experiencedfirst-hand the meaning of The sins of the father will be visited upon theson.Trailing by one with four seconds left, Henderson, whoscored 19, had an uncontested layup that would have won it for Charlotte. Butthe ball rolled oh-so-slowly around the rim and fell off. The Bobcatsrebounded, but Ben Gordons desperation 3-point attempt missed and the Lakers wontheir third in a row, while the Bobcats suffered a 12th consecutive loss.Where does the elder Henderson fit in all of this?In the 1984 Finals, the Lakers led the Boston Celtics andGerald Henderson Sr. 1-0 in the series and were ahead 113-111 with 18 secondsremaining in Game 2 at legendary Boston Garden. The Lakers had never beaten theCeltics in a Finals series, going 0-for-7 up to that point.It looked like that was likely to change, with Magic Johnsonand Co. poised to take a 2-0 lead in the Finals by winning two in the Garden beforeheading back home to The Forum for Game 3. But Henderson, a three-time NBAChampion, stole James Worthys inbounds pass and sprinted upcourt for a layupthat sent the game into overtime.The Celtics would win 124-121 and eventually claimed theireighth Finals against the Lakers in a hard-fought seven-game series. Henderson Sr. is a reviled still by longtime Lakers fans,and watching his son blow a gimme layup was maybe a bit of redemption forwhat the father did 28 years ago. While Tuesdays clash with the Bobcats wasnt a Finals game,it was a big win for the Lakers, who improved to 12-14. A big win against a7-17 team? Absolutely, especially when overcoming an 18-point, third-quarterdeficit. Behind some rare excellent defense and a 30-4 run, LosAngeles was able to hold on for the single-digit win, prompting Kobe Bryant topraise the Lakers defense and especially off the bench for maybe the firsttime this season.Well, we got ourselves down again but we finally got somestops when we had to and we finally got our act together on defense, Bryantsaid. Thats what our crew should do coming in off the bench. They changed thetempo of the game. Darius (Morris) played great defense and so did Jodie Meeks,even though hes not known for it. (The bench) needs to cause havoc out there;change the tempo of the game. Thats what they should become known for.The Lakers also received boosts from Dwight Howard, whototaled 16 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks, and Pau Gasol, who had 10points, nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks after missing the lasteight games with knee tendinitis.It was good to have Pau back out there, Kobe said. Hejust has to start to get his game in rhythm, which he will, and he always makesthe games so much easier for all of us to play. As soon as we get little Gatsby(Steve Nash) back, well be ready to roll.Coach Mike DAntoni has been saying for weeks that theLakers havent really had a gut-check moment, where they planted their feet,made a stand and came away victorious. He finally saw it Tuesday night.We pulled it together and played great defense, a relievedDAntoni said. (Charlotte) only scored 22 points in the last 18 minutes. Wegot a win and now well move on.THREE THOUGHTS1. DAntoni decided to bring Metta World Peace off the benchafter hed started the first 25 games of the season. He responded to the changewith 17 points, seven rebounds and four steals, and said hell do anythingDAntoni wants him to do. The coach said he was doing it to get more energy offthe bench and to give MWP more time at power forward. For us to have adifferent look and be a better team, Metta has to play the four, DAntoni said.In the long run it may turn out to be the right move, but it might alsobackfire on DAntoni for one simple reason: the Lakers also need energy at thebeginning of games. Theyve come out flat in the majority of the games theyveplayed this season, and MWPs frenetic movement might be missed early on.2. The loser in Mettas position change is Jordan Hill. Thepower forwardcenter has been a consistent source of energy for the Lakers sincehe began to get significant minutes last season when MWP was suspended forelbowing James Harden in the head last April.Hills contributions go far beyond his numbers 5.8 ppg and 5.4 rpg in15.4 minutes per game and it really isnt fair to one of the few Lakers whohas played hard all season long.3. The Lakers will go through one more major period ofadjustment beginning probably on Christmas Day against the New York Knicks atStaples Center. Thats the target date for Nashs return to the lineup, andthey wont have played any minutes with their point guard in nearly twocalendar months. As great as Nash is, it will likely be a chaotic scene for awhile when he returns, as his teammates try to learn Nashs style all overagain.
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