It's a small sample size, but so far the Los Angeles Lakers' decision to essentially replace Jordan Farmar with Steve Blake looks like a wise one. Blake came off the bench and sparked the Lakers late on Tuesday night, hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer as Los Angeles fought back for a 112-110 victory over the Houston Rockets in front of the home crowd on the opening night of the NBA season.
But while his late-game heroics will make most of the highlight shows this morning, Blake got things going in the third quarter when the Lakers, to that point, were having a pretty cold night from the field.
Here's the description from our Lakers blog, Silver Screen And Roll:
The turning point came in the final minutes [of the third period]. With about three minutes left in the period, Phil put on the floor an odd lineup of Steve Blake, Shannon Brown, Artest, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff. They failed to score on four straight possessions, but they were locking down the Rockets on D, and with less than a minute to play, Blake had his first big moment in purple and gold. After Barnes rebounded a Brown miss, Blake drained a 26-foot three, and then 30 seconds later did it again.
As DexterFishmore points out, the Lakers officially heated up from behind the arc at that point. Before Blake's first bomb, L.A. had hit a mere 2 of 12 from 3-point range. Blake and Brown hit seven 3-pointers down the stretch as the Lakers went 7 of 9 from long distance; the Lakers finished a respectable 9 of 21 from 3-point rage for the game (which included an 0-for-3 performance from Kobe Bryant).
Blake's final 3-pointer capped a wild finish, as there were four lead changes in the final minute of the game. Los Angeles outscored Houston 61-48 in the second half.