Lakers get 1st win

November 10, 2014
Lakers' guards Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin led the charge as both scored a team-high 21 points against the Charlotte Hornets in the teams first win of the season. (Korea Times)

Lakers’ guards Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin led the charge as both players scored a team-high 21 points against the Charlotte Hornets in the teams first win of the season. (Korea Times)

By Brian Han

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers finally won a game after five straight losses to open the season.

In a 107-92 victory  over the Charlotte Hornets (3-4) Sunday night at Staples Center, Lakers’ shooting guard Kobe Bryant only made 7 out of 20 shots to score 21 points, but point guard Jeremy Lin stepped up big-time to be the difference-maker. In his best performance since joining the Lakers, Lin scored 21 points by shooting 8-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. 

Lin also added seven assists while committing only one turnover.

The Lakers’ defense showed up as well as the team held an opponent to less than 100 points for the first time this season. With four days to prepare, the Lakers defense found a way to not allow a single 3-pointer to sharpshooter Gary Neal (14 points).

It also helped that they met a low-scoring team that does not shoot a lot of 3-pointers. The Lakers are dead last in points allowed per game (112.7) and second-to-last in 3-pointers allowed per game (10.0), but the Hornets could not capitalize as they stayed true to form by scoring only 92 points and making only three 3-pointers. The Hornets score under 96 points per game and average 5.1 3-pointers.

Although the Lakers’ came off a rather slow start in the first half to trail by nine points, a third quarter 25-3 run fueled by consecutive 3-pointers by Lin then small forward Wesley Johnson had the crowd roaring at Staples Center.

The Lakers took a 76-64 lead going into the final quarter and never looked back.

“We got to start somewhere,” a subdued Bryant said after the game, but Lin felt a little bit differently after his first win in a Lakers uniform.

“It definitely feels like the monkey’s off our backs… but it’s the defense that helped us win and that should be no surprise to anyone,” he said.

As for head coach Byron Scott who finally cracked his first smile of the regular season, he made a Greg Popovich-esque joke when asked about why the Lakers won this game.

“I think we won because we had a hundred-and-something and they had ninety-something,” he said.

In what started to seem like an insurmountable barrier, this one victory should get some critics off the team’s backs until Tuesday when the Lakers hit the road to play the defensively dominant Memphis Grizzlies (6-1) whose opponents are averaging less than 90 points a game this season.

 

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