Thursday, October 14, 2010
The Lakers played their cards right in Las Vegas as they won an exhibition game in UNLV's Thomas & Mack Centre. The Lake Show beat the Sacramento Kings 98-85 behind 18 points off both Pau Gasol and Ron Artest. Rising star and free-agent re-signee Shannon Brown also added 17 and showed great range between the NBA and college 3 point line markings. The Lakers took a gamble on playing the recovering Kobe Bryant but he showed a good hand in 19 minutes of play coming up with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. The Lakers may have lost big and looked as embarrassing as Chevy Chase on their European vacation but in their homecoming game in America they were as welcome as Brandon Flowers in fabulous Las Vegas. They looked comfortable in familiar surroundings, leading by 15 going into the final quarter as the red hot Lamar Odom went coast to coast and confidently drained a 3 in the waning seconds of the third. Sacramento didn't look like queens however staying in the game in the final quarter, chipping away LA's shine behind 23 points from Landry and 13 and 8 (assists) from reigning Rookie Of The Year Tyreke Evans.
Ron Artest has certainly left his mark on Nevada's Sin City more than the 18 points he dropped on Wednesday. Ron, Ron has been given the keys to Las Vegas. The Mirage Hotel recognises the reformed Artest for his charitable efforts for mental health issues. Now this one-time party hard player has all the doors to the city unlocked it would seem hard to resist temptation but Ron is a new slimmed down, work hard, sober man. Ever the character though Artest desires to make good use of his new privilege and try on some of Floyd Mayweather's jewellery and try a duet with Celine Dion. Hey if R. Kelly did it Ron sure can. How about it Celine?
(Ron and D.J. may no longer cut it for the same team, but one time they shared this curious cut)
The well-travelled Los Angeles Laker free agent D.J. Mbenga didn't join Los Angeles on their European preseason tour. The 7 foot centre has now been picked up instead by the New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets have added more honey to their golden frontcourt with the addition of the defensive minded, 'Baby Mutombo'. D.J. recorded 10 points and 12 rebounds for his first ever double, double against N.O. last season and now the NBA champion is in demand in Louisiana thanks to New Orleans request. Mbenga averaged 2.1 points and 1.8 rebounds last season and is a strong player who can impact even in the limited minutes he receives. The post presence will help New Orleans build towards having a strong squad for the playoffs. TIM DAVID HARVEY