This season has not been an easy one for the Lakers, and neither was last night’s game against Atlanta. Los Angeles had to score with less than 10 seconds left to come away with the win, but they held on for the 99-98 victory while returning to .500 for the first time since December 28th.
Kobe Bryant shined once again last night, scoring 34 points for the fourth time in the last five games. This season, Kobe has somehow been able to turn back the hands of time and play better than he has in recent years, and last night was no exception. He also pulled down six rebounds and added four assists in 39 minutes of play to add to his 34 points, including a go-ahead lay-up with nine seconds remaining and this mammoth of a dunk:
For a second consecutive game, besides Kobe Bryant playing at an insane level, the other key to victory was the three-point shooting of the team. Six different players added to the team’s 10 total threes, and the Lakers shot close to 50 percent. Last night was the fourth consecutive game that the Lakers have shot over 42 percent from three-point land.
As the Lakers begin to venture into the final quarter of the season, there is finally some more comfort on their bench. Steve Blake has been back for a little over a month after missing almost three months with an injury in his abdomen, but is now beginning to find his rhythm. In the last three games, Blake has averaged eight points, three rebounds and five assists in 23 minutes of play. This is not big only for himself, but this is also big for Steve Nash, who, at 39 years old, will be able to get more breaks.
Los Angeles is currently two-and-a-half games behind both the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets and it seems as though one of those teams is going to fall off, given the way things have unfolded over the last month. Since January 25th, the Lakers have a 13-5 record, which is the fourth best record in the NBA. I need not say anymore besides look out, Utah and Houston.