NBA 11/19 by Jason Wojciechowski Tuesday, November 28, 2006, 03:11 AM
The Lakers beat a struggling Bulls team, improving to 7-3 while Chicago fell to 3-7. The game seems to have been played at Chicago's pace as the final score was just 82-72, but while the Lakers shot just 40%, Chicago managed only 34%, despite Andres Nocioni shooting 11-22 on his way to 30 points. Luol Deng, who's turned into the Bulls' best offensive player (I'm not enamored of Ben Gordon, it should be noted - all he does is shoot, and he's not consistent enough to get away with jump shots being the only aspect of his game) was only 5-16, though he did contribute three steals. Ty Thomas also had an odd line for Chicago, shooting 0-5, but grabbing five boards, four of which were offensive. He also blocked two shots. Isn't that kind of the ultimate "athlete with unrefined skills" line?
Kobe dropped off from 31 to just 18 on 5-14 shooting, but Lamar Odom (23 points, ten boards) and Andrew Bynum (12 and 13) picked up the slack, though Odom turned the ball over seven times and Bynum fouled out in just 28 minutes. Kwame Brown had a nice game off the bench as well, grabbing nine boards in just 20 minutes. If Brown can be that kind of weapon off the bench, providing defense and rebounding and letting his offensive skills just develop as they will (remember, he's still only 24), he and Bynum might make a very nice tandem in the middle. Championship quality? Probably not. But playoff quality? Definitely.
In the only other game of the day, San Antonio bounced back from a loss to Charlotte (which is just embarrassing, really) to beat Sacramento. Manu Ginobli struggled offensively again (4-12), but Tim Duncan had one of those "are we really still talking about who the best player in the game is?" games, with 35 points on 13-17 shooting, fourteen boards (seven offensive), three assists, two steals, and a block, while turning the ball over just twice. Ridiculous.
The Kings' top four players scored 96 points together the last time around. This time it was just 76, as Mike Bibby in particular fell off, shooting just 3-12 (though he knocked down 10 free throws). Shareef's 16 points and 12 boards was pretty sweet, especially since he's an undersized guy for the pivot (6'9", 250) playing against a team with three legitimate big men: Duncan, "Oh Boy!" Oberto, and Frankie Elson.