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BILL PLASCHKE

Lakers win is something to yell about

A 92-86 L.A. victory at Boston will mend nerves, heal egos, and temporarily soothe critics.

February 10, 2011|Bill Plaschke
  • Lakers forward Lamar Odom, his head bandaged after he was cut during a collision with teammate Pau Gasol, brings the ball upcourt against the Celtics on Thursday night in Boston. Odom finished with 10 points, a game-high 12 rebounds and a game-high three blocked shots.
Lakers forward Lamar Odom, his head bandaged after he was cut during a collision… (Charles Krupa / Associated…)

What do Lakers followers do these days when the team is in Boston on a Thursday night in the middle of winter?

Yell at the television, that's what.

That Band-Aid on Lamar Odom's head is so big , it would cover the entire leg of a 5-year-old with a scraped knee. How come Gary Vitti has them and moms don't? …

The biggest bandage of the night is the Garden scoreboard, a 92-86 Lakers victory that will mend nerves, heal egos, and temporarily soothe critics like me who still think Andrew Bynum should be traded. …

And if they lose Friday in New York or Sunday in Orlando, the wound is opened and blistering again. …

One of the TV guys notes, rather sarcastically, that nobody will give the Lakers full credit for this victory because the Celtics were missing several important bench players, Paul Pierce was recovering from the flu and they didn't have the same sense of Lakers urgency. He's right, but the win did pull L.A. to within 1 1/2 games of the Celtics for home-court advantage in the Finals, and the Lakers cannot win the Finals without it. …

In five previous games against the league's top four teams, the Lakers were 0-5 and had been outscored by an average of 11 points, so this is also the signature win they desperately needed. Scribbled and difficult to read, but signature nonetheless. …

I know what Kobe Bryant is doing. He takes only three shots in the first half and I know exactly what he is doing. Then why do I still scream at him for it? Why am I still stunned that he's able to turn it on and score 20 points in the second half, including eight in the final 4:51? …

Covering Bryant is not only exhilarating, it's exhausting, and on nights like Thursday, you wonder how long he can still get away with managing his game like that. Can they fall behind a veteran team like the Celtics by 15 points on the road in June and still survive? …

"Kobe Bryant has slowed down … a lot." I didn't say that. Charles Barkley says that after the first half. So I'm not the only one screaming. …

While Bryant's jump shot with 48.8 seconds remaining gives the Lakers an eight-point lead and essentially clinches the game, it was set up by Odom's fighting offensive rebound, just as the entire fourth quarter was set up by Odom's opening three-pointer. I love Odom, who does all this after being bloodied in a collision with Pau Gasol, who bloodied Celtic Kevin Garnett's head in the same fashion in their last meeting. …

Say what you want about Gasol, but he's not soft. …

Midway through the first quarter, the Lakers come out of a timeout and Ron Artest immediately throws up a wacky three-point attempt that results in total failure. It was all so cute when he played defense. It's not so cute anymore. …

In the middle of the second quarter, the Lakers came out of a timeout and Luke Walton immediately throws up a missed three-point attempt. Maybe it was better when Phil Jackson didn't call timeouts. …

Tell me if this happens to anyone else. I will watch an entire half and forget Derek Fisher even plays for the Lakers. Then he will pop up out of nowhere and hit a three-pointer to help a surge at the start of the third quarter and I'm like, oh, yeah….

Be honest, some of you spend six months forgetting Fisher plays for the Lakers, then in May you're like, oh yeah….

I didn't hear Garnett curse until there were 35 seconds left in the first half, which is some sort of record for a player who should be fined for being such a loud potty mouth….

When Bryant attempts a free throw in the second quarter, there is a Celtics fan behind the basket wearing a towel across his face like a white veil. I was wrong, Kobe. That photo shoot will never die….

Late in the first quarter, Celtic Ray Allen breaks Reggie Miller's all-time three-point record with his 2,561st trey. Interestingly enough, he does it against a team whose coach recently said one of the league's greatest mistakes was changing the rules to allow three-pointers….

Does it make me mean that I love the commercial where the dude says Justin Bieber looks like a girl? …

In the middle of the third quarter, my 16-year-old daughter Mary Clare stops doing homework, steps in front of the television and announces, "I think that shade of green is gross.'' She didn't learn that from me. She didn't learn that from anybody. The hate of green just grows naturally out here….

OK, here's the deal on Bynum. If every night were Thursday night, he would be an untouchable. But it's been six years and we're still waiting for at least a month of those Thursday nights. The Lakers are obviously going to hitch their championship hopes for the next several years to his aching knees. Here's hoping I'm wrong.

bill.plaschke@latimes.com

twitter.com/billplaschke

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