Clamp the champs

This morning, Royce at Daily Thunder made the following observation:

The Lakers don’t have a great bench with Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar and Josh Powell, but it’s serviceable.

I think the service light must have kicked on: through three quarters, those three had zero points. (The only L.A. reserve to score through the first 36 minutes was D. J. Mbenga, with three.) At the time, it was Thunder 80, Lakers 47, and L.A. was shooting 32 percent; they didn’t nail so much as a single trey until two minutes into the fourth, when Farmar finally got one to fall during a 10-0 Lakers run and Phil Jackson opted to let his starters rest for tomorrow night against Houston. After that, the Laker bench earned their keep, pulling to within sixteen at the end, but 91-75 still seems a stout thrashing, especially since it was L.A.’s lowest point production of the season.

And what of Kobe? He hit four shots and three free throws, and turned the ball over nine times. Lamar Odom had a team-high 15 points.

Meanwhile, the Big Three were doing their thing — Kevin Durant 26, Russell Westbrook 23, Jeff Green 10 — and Nenad Krstić collected a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. It wasn’t an enormous amount of offense, but it was more than enough on a night where defense was king and the Lakers were thoroughly jacked.

Now to manhandle the Blazers on Sunday.

Nets watch: New Jersey got its ninth win (and second in a row!), beating the Pistons 118-110. They’d have to lose all ten remaining games to tie with the 1972-’73 Sixers for Worst Ever. At this point, I have to believe they won’t.

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