Now this, THIS, calls for Girls.
What a wonderful turn of events this evening.
Stats: 27min 4pts (2-8, 0-2, 0-0) 1reb 1ast 1stl 0blk 1TO
Johnson ( F ) -- the only good thing that can be said about this performance is that he had some good hustle plays. Sans Boogie there were going to be opportuniites...and he took advantage of none of them. In fact on one game evidence it seemed that taking away the centerpiece took away his anchor, really on both ends. Got little accomplished on defense, where Metta scoffed at what we are calling our ace defennsive SF nowadays, and had to spot in minutes against the Lakers bigs, who are all long and weren't bothered either. On offense was both undisciplined and lost. With Reke jsut trying to move the ball and stay out of the way and IT mostly just playing for himself we had no leadership, and so JJ just did what came natural, which is to say over dribbled, repeatedly and randomly driving into trouble and trying to flip up hopeless attempts against length. I would like to give him a little credit for a nice hustle play in the mid 3rd where he out hustled Kobe for a long rebound and raced down for layup, but sans much effectiveness on defense, rebounding (whihc he is supposed to be good at but has not been so far) and with an offensive effort that was equal parts hopeless and clueless, I'm calling this an F. Did not help at all, and really looks lost out there. Worse than lost, disruptively random. In some places they have these people called "coaches" who will try to correct that by providiing instruction to their players. Odd concept, I know.
Julia Orayen -- who became an overnight sensation after becoming the star of a Mexican presidential debate for the dress she almost wore while working as a presenter.
Stats: 26min 11pts (5-9, 1-2, 0-0) 3reb 2ast 0stl 2blk 1TO
Outlaw ( C+ ) -- was thrown into an impossible situation, being called upon to start at "power" forward matched up against Pay Gasol, who has him by 3-4 inches and 30-40lbs. Had a couple of moments in that role early, getting a piece of Pau's first attempt against him, but generally sucked in all the ways he has sucked, missing jumpers and failign twice on one possession as Smart idiiotically drew up a play for him to score out fo the timeout -- we have to be the only team in the league that routinely draws up timeout pays for our worst scorer on the floor, rather than our best. Came out in the third, got completely annihilated in there as the Lakers, who in fact may have one or two of those "coach" people, realized they had a huge matchup edge and went to it until we had to take Outlaw out. But in the long late stretch of garbagetime began to pepper in those little jumpers that have not fallen all year. It was pointless, it didn't contribute to anythign important, but maybe, jsut maybe it can give him some confidence and competence going forward? Unfortunately more likely it will give Smart more "confidence" and he will continue to try to play all 12 guys 10min or more a piece because obviosuly Travis has earned it. Grade pulled in all directions, so I mushed it into the middle. Was whipped badly when it mattered, but really was in an impossible situation, played his best stretch of the season (which says nothing) when it didn't matter. Overall...C? And I'll add the + because its Travis Outlaw and he's rarely even this good anymore.
Joanna Krupa -- who apparently if you are a reality TV fan you may have seen before, as she has made the rounds on various shows.
Stats: 34min 15pts (4-10, 0-1, 7-9) 10reb 3ast 2stl 1blk 3TO
Thompson ( B ) -- was doing about as well as you could hope in there all alone for 3/4 of this game, and then in the space of about 3 minutes at the beginning of the 4th imploded, fouling himself out of the game on 3 unnecessary fouls without even so much as causing a nosebleed. And essentially that was when the illusion of a real game ended, and JT lost the "+" off his B. Was playing solidly in the early going -- if he had been our 2nd big playing at that level we would have been in good shape. Wasn't going to consistently score against Howard of course, but competed without accumulating too many silly fouls, broke up several passes meant for Howard alley oops and the like, made a nice high low pass to Hayes for a layup, and another to a streaking Reke on the break etc. The rebounding was, if not a big of an illusion, at least not as useful to us as it may have appeared. We got crushed on the glass and without JT crushed would have turned to embarrassment. But a lot of both JT and Hayes' boards were on often missed tip follow attempts and the like, while on our defensive glass the Lakers pounded away, grabbing nearly as many offensive boards as we grabbed defensive boards. Began to wobble his way into a pretty good statistical night agaisnt Hill in the 2nd, and stood in there with solid play in the 3rd as we began to fade. If not quite a rock, then at least our most consistent presence, and the one we couldn't be without against the Lakers' size. And then the 4th began, and abruptly JT lost his brains and composure, got a little loose and picked up silly fouls of the sort our young bigs have specialized in in recent years. Slapping a way a defender's hand, pushing Howard out of the way in a rebounding scrub etc. And that was good night for him and good night for us, and another guy for Smart to tongue lash on the bench.
Arianna Celeste -- I didn't know you could gain significant fame as a MMA ring girl, but apparently you can. Helps if you look like this.
Stats: 26min 9pts (4-9, 0-1, 1-2) 4reb 4ast 2stl 0blk 1TO
Evans ( C- ) -- the neuterification of Reke may have hit a crescendo here, and its getting very difficult to see how its going to work with this player and this coach. The grade here reflects the fact that this was a game in which we absolutely needed Reke to step up and fill the star shoes. And he didn't even try, as enormous a task as they might have been as a SG being defended by Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest all nght, backed up by Dwight Howard in the paint. Now of course an interesting way to approach it would have been to put Reke at PG, Thornton at SG, and have him tear up Steve Blake, but of course we know that doesn't happen anymore because we're far better off with the lowest rated offense in the league and Reke taking 9 shots a night. If it weren't for the need for him to step up, almost in defiance of his own coach, Reke's game here was actually quite mature, a team player willingly swinging the ball to the next guy, rarely forcing anything, willing to disapear into the background. Had one little burst in the early going, getting out on the break for several scores. Began to dive back and really help out on the defensive glass in the third, and had several good steals, although I didn't feel the overall defense was really of such aleel as to explain Kobe's down night. Solid roleplayer effort, and given full minutes in line with his new 12pt 5reb 5ast type of norm nights. Except this is not, or should not be, a roleplayer, and we needed a star tonight. So the grade drops for not stepping up, with the note that this grader's baleful eye is focused firmly on the sideline, and if Reke were to brain his coach tommorow with a frying pan, I'd argue it was self defense.
Gia Carangi -- often called the world's first supermodel in the late 70s/early 80s (when Cindy Crawford came up a few years later she was called "baby Gia"), this Philly stunner also pioneered the fashion model's tragic heroin fueled fall from grace and died as an early victim of the AIDS epidemic.
Stats: 23min 13pts (6-11, 1-3, 0-0) 2reb 1ast 0stl 0blk 0TO
Thomas ( B-) -- off to a fast start against the weak Lakers PG defense, which seemed to be our best chance at an advantage this game. Brielfly I got confused and thought this might be dynamic IT from last year. But started gunning and missing however, and aside from one nice behind the back flip on the break to JT you began to notice it was again all for himself. Would love to see the scribbles in the margins of Keith Smart's playbook where he brainstormed up an offense where Reke does not shoot and our PGs do not pass. IT had some success again in the third as a scorer, when basically nobody else was doing anything, against both Blake and whoever the Lakers are calling their backup PG at this point. Never did much other than score again though, but that's been the pattern throughout the early season, with him averaging 11.9pts 1.6reb 1.4ast 0.6stl 2.3TO. Did something however -- scored 13pts on 6-11 shooting -- and if that was all he did I'm just taking it on faith that that is all part of the master plan here.
Chris Hemsworth -- look! its Thor! Who BTW you dips, was a Norse god long millenia before anybody had the unfortunate idea of scribbling pictures of him in tights in a comic book.