Kobe Bryant couldn’t help himself but continue and throw over 20 shots, limiting himself to “only” 22 field goal attempts and 14 points, making only 7 of his shots. For once this season, he gave up on the tough last shot, finding Derek Fisher who hit the winning three pointer win 3 second to go, beating the Dallas Mavericks 73-70.
Ugly? The shooting certainly was, although it can also be attributed to defenses. The Mavs (8-6) shot 35% from the field, the Lakers did just a bit better, with 38.2%. For once, Bryant wasn’t the leading scorers. Everything that actually dropped for him these past two weeks stopped falling. For once, it seemed he did understand it at that point and started playing the decoy well, dishing out 7 assists. He’s averaging 5.5 so far this season, his highest since 2004-2005.
For Dallas, it was Nowitzki and nothing much else. He scored 21 points. Lamar Odom had a rare double figures game since putting on white and blue. Maybe because he returned to a place, facing the Lakers for the first time, that has meant so much success over the years.
A lot of the success came along with Bynum and Pau Gasol as his paint-mates. Bynum, as he should do more often, led the Lakers in scoring. He shot 8-13 with 17 points and 15 rebounds. He looks much more committed to the team and to his new roll, which would be even bigger if Bryant decided to pass on a shot every once in a while.
Gasol? Struggled, big time, like everybody else, like he did against the Mavs in the 2011 playoffs. Only 8 points and 6 rebounds while making only 3-11 from the field. He doesn’t look like a 20-10 player anymore, but even on bad night like these, Gasol has to bring more to the table.
Jason Kidd, who finished with 3 points and shooting 1-9 from the field, seemed to be the only amused individual from the awful night everyone was experiencing. I guess after so many years, you have to - Man, we’re setting records – both ways, probably. I thought we were competing at both ends, but sometimes you’ve got to make shots in this league, and we just couldn’t do it tonight. It was one of those NFC kind of games – just hand off the ball and run. It was just an ugly game.
It’s gotten weird seeing Derek Fisher out of his suit, which he wore so much during the summer and fall. He’s averaging only 4.9 points this season while shooting a terrible 36.4% from the field. Makes you wonder if he shouldn’t have been keeping that suit on all the time. Then, he hits the game winning three, like we’ve gotten used to. He didn’t even miss from the outside and scored 13 points.
The Mavs? They’ll be OK. The ship is steady, although their scoring struggles are happening too often for a team aiming to defend their title. The Lakers? An offbeat night, for a team going as far as Kobe Bryant’s shooting takes them. As long as he has backup, they’ll actually be doing very well, like their 10-5 record so far.