December 3, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Courtside chatter: Five takeaways from Lakers’ win in Atlanta

Here are five observa … WAIT. DON’T TALK TO MY HUSBAND LIKE THAT. Sorry, “Observation Karen” took over the keyboard for a second.

Here are five observations from the Lakers’ 107-99 win Monday night in Atlanta:

1.) So yeah, about the “Courtside Karen” …

A set of courtside fans was ejected from Monday’s game in Atlanta, with one of the fans, a woman, taking to her Instagram to unleash a barrage of rants about LeBron James and the incident during Monday’s fourth quarter.

The woman, Juliana Carlos, said James and her husband were arguing, and she wanted to stick up for the man she loves. She did it, of course, without a mask, and it was determined that she and her party needed to leave.

And James was appalled, right?

Nope. The Lakers star kind of liked it.

“At the end of the day, I’m happy fans are back in the building. I miss that interaction. I need that interaction,” he said. “We, as players, need that interaction. I don’t feel like it was warranted to be kicked out. There was a, you know, a back and forth between two grown men, and we each said our piece. He said his piece, I said my piece.

“And then when somebody else jumped into it and said their piece … but I didn’t think they should have been kicked out.”

2.) James, of course, responded by hitting a dagger three later in the game. But before all of that, the Lakers got more great minutes from a lineup of James, Montrezl Harrell, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso.

For the second straight game, coach Frank Vogel kept Wesley Matthews and Markieff Morris on the bench, relying on this group instead. And for the second straight game, the group was fantastic.

In its last 22 minutes on the court together, the group is an absurd 41.8 points per 100 possessions better than the opposition.

“The group plays hard. They’re scrappy defensively. Everyone does their jobs,” Lakers forward Anthony Davis said. “And then, at the start of the fourth, we always have the bench saying, ‘OK, it’s the fourth quarter. It’s winning time.’ When it’s close games, or we might be down, or anything like that, that group comes in and makes great plays to start the fourth for us to get us going.”

3.) The game, in general, was kind of a weird one. (The last games on road trips usually are.)

The Lakers only made one shot outside of the paint in the first quarter, and that shot, of course, came on a jumper by Harrell.

And Davis? Despite leading the team in scoring with 25 points and blocking three shots, he grabbed only two rebounds.

4.) But the Lakers had a lot of balance, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Dennis Schroder combining for 27 points.

Harrell was terrific again, scoring 19 points on eight-for-nine shooting as he continued to find the right spots within the Lakers’ offense.

The win ended the trip 5-2, the loss in Detroit the lone real low point.

5.) The Lakers have also gotten to this point as one of the few teams whose schedule has been uninterrupted by postponements, a testament to their luck and commitment.

“[We’re] trying to follow the protocols as closely as possible, with the social distancing and the mask wearing, everything that goes into trying to stay safe with this thing,” Vogel said before Monday’s game. “The virus doesn’t discriminate, but I’m sure there’s plenty of other teams that are being as diligent as us that haven’t been as lucky. So we have had good luck so far. Hopefully that continues.”