Kobe, Lakers Win Third In A Row



Everybody who watches basketball knows what this face means. For those who don’t, it means that it’s time for Kobe Bryant to do work. The game face was on display today, and needless to say, Kobe did work. The Lakers won their third consecutive game this afternoon after edging the Mavericks 103-99.

Despite Dirk Nowitzki playing his best game of the season, scoring 30 points and adding 13 rebounds on 58 percent shooting, Kobe played better. In 38 minutes, Bryant dropped 38 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists on 62 percent shooting. After scoring 40 points on Friday while shooting 60+ percent, Bryant became the oldest player in NBA history to put up these numbers on back-to-back nights.

With the Lakers and Mavericks both scrapping for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, both teams fought as if this was a playoff game. There were 39 total fouls, three technical fouls, and 21 lead changes during the game. With these circumstances, and Dwight Howard staying in foul trouble throughout the entire game, Bryant needed to have a huge game.

Bryant also had to let his play quiet the loudmouth known as Mark Cuban, who claimed just a couple days before that the Lakers should amnesty Bryant when the season was done. After getting the last laugh, Bryant was able to further bury Cuban in a tweet that read simply, “Amnesty THAT.” 

Besides Bryant’s phenomenal game, there were not many other story lines to this game. But there were a few positives for the Lakers.

Steve Nash had his highest-scoring game of the season. Not only did Steve Nash shoot 7-of-12 from the field, but he was also able to shoot four out of five from beyond the arc, including clutch threes when the game was tight.

The three point shooting was key for the Lakers. The Mavericks forced more turnovers, shot pretty much the same percentage from the field and had almost the same amount of rebounds and assists, but Los Angeles had the advantage in three-point shooting. Dallas was able to make eight threes on 44 percent shooting, but the Lakers were able to make 13 three-pointers on 52 percent shooting. Whenever the Lakers needed a big shot, either Bryant, Nash, Antawn Jamison or Jodie Meeks was able to hit a big three for the Lake Show. This proved to be more than important down the stretch.

Although it is great to see the Lakers creep to within one game of .500, they will be tested tomorrow night when they take on the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Let’s just hope that Kobe has some gas left in the tank, but at this point, should we even worry?



Suns/Lakers Preview

Lakers try to put drama behind them as they return from long trip

The Lakers finished off their annual Grammys road trip on Sunday in a losing effort to the Heat. The loss brought the Lakers’ record to 4-3 on the trip, and their overall road record to an appalling 9-18 this season. 

Luckily, the Lakers are back at the Staples Center, where they are a much better 15-10. Tonight, they look to avenge their loss against the Phoenix Suns after losing 92-86 in Phoenix in the first game of their Grammys road trip.

Keys to the game: The Lakers must rebound the ball. Since Pau Gasol injured his foot in Brooklyn, the Lakers have been unable to out-rebound their opponents over the last three games, despite ranking third in the NBA in rebounding. Suns center Marcin Gortat managed to pull down 12 rebounds, including four offensive, in their last meeting. Both Earl Clark and Dwight Howard must be ready to rebound the basketball tonight.

The Lakers also need to not turn the ball over. As of today, the Lake Show ranks 25th in turnovers per game, giving the ball away over 15 times per game. This stat also proved to be crucial in their last match-up against Phoenix. Los Angeles turned the ball over 19 times while falling apart and squandering a double-digit, fourth quarter lead. Good ball handling from Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash will be crucial.

Prediction: I am confident when I say that Los Angeles will win this game tonight. Last time, they had everything going for them until the fourth quarter. The Lakers were also forced to play much of that fourth quarter without Howard, who re-aggravated his right shoulder. Despite a tumultuous fourth quarter against Miami, the Lakers were very efficient shooting the ball, while Kobe played well as both a scorer and a facilitator. The Lakers want revenge, and I think they will get it tonight. I like Los Angeles to win 112-96.