Coming into this shortened NBA season, new Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown was given arguably one of the toughest tasks of any head coach in NBA history. Stepping in for 11-time NBA champion Phil Jackson in the city of Los Angeles was tough enough for the former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, but with all that has gone on like the NBA lockout, Lamar Odom trade and having to convince Kobe Bryant to play in a new system, Mike Brown has had the was presented challenge after challenge with the Lakers.
Fortunately, despite a rocky 0-2 start with losses to the Chicago Bulls and the Sacramento Kings, Mike Brown has gotten this veteran team to buy into his defensive-minded game plan and as a result the Los Angeles Lakers have won two straight. The win over the Utah Jazz was expected, but the most recent win over the New York Knicks was impressive to say the least.
With a strong emphasis on defense this season, Mike Brown has already made his presence felt after just four games this season and it was no more apparent than on Thursday night at Staples Center against the visiting New York Knicks. Even though the Knicks were thought to be a NBA title contender this season, the Lakers made them look like one of the worst teams in the league in Los Angeles by dominating Carmelo Anthony and company from start to finish in a 99-82 rout.
Kobe Bryant turned back the clock once again in this contest against the Knicks with a game-high 28 points on 10-for-17 shooting. No matter what New York threw at the Lakers star on Thursday, Kobe was able to counter to get his points and get others involved with six assists. Pau Gasol also played well for the second straight game with 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Even though Kobe Bryant stole the shows with some impressive shooting and classic highlights, the Lakers continue to play well as a team with seemingly everyone on the roster getting involved. With 17 points off turnovers and 44 points to the Knicks 23 points in the paint, the underman and smaller Lakers squad was able to takedown the larger frontline of the New York Knicks and get a second win on the season to improve their record to 2-2.
The Los Angeles Lakers continue to improve on defense as they were able to hold the high-powered offense of the New York Knicks to just 82 points and are currently 4th in the NBA at points allowed with 85.3. Mike Brown still has a long way to go in order to breakout of the shadow of the Zen Master, but he has gotten off to good start with the players buying into his new system.
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Next Lakers Game: Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers Sat. Dec. 31, 2011 12:30 p.m. PST