The most important thing? The Los Angeles Lakers won another game, on the road of all places, to stay in the race for the final ticket the NBA has to offer in the Western playoffs. Things of less importance all have to do with Kobe Bryant, not resting a single minute, moving up the NBA’s all time scoring list, shooting terribly from the field while posting assist numbers to make us think he’s a “team” player.
Bryant doesn’t need to be a team player. He just needs to win. That’s his fuel, always has been. That, and establishing his place in the history of the game, despite what he says. Individual achievements, respect from others. All that matters, big time. Bryant finished with 19 points on 5-18 from the field, as if to show that just passing Wilt Chamberlain on the scoring list isn’t enough – he needs to start working on reaching Michael Jordan as soon as possible.
He did however add 14 assists, which will lead to the “Kobe passing Kool-aid” as Bryant referred to himself earlier this season after consecutive games of impressive assist numbers, leading to wins. Maybe there’s a hint there that someone simply refuses to acknowledge.
The Lakers won 103-98, as Steve Nash could only play for two minutes before exiting due to his hamstring problem. Not everyone are as brave as Kobe in their willingness to sacrifice their body for the sake of a win and the playoffs. Maybe Bryant isn’t as injured as he’d like us to think. The Lakers still had enough to come through, as Steve Blake stepped up from the bench to play 32 minutes and hit five three pointers.
Dwight Howard ruled the paint, winning the individual battle with DeMarcus Cousins by scoring 24 points, adding 15 rebounds and 5 blocks. He was still terrible (4-10) from the line, some things never change. Pau Gasol, just like Kobe Bryant, took over the handling of the distribution and passing. Gasol finished with 12 points on a timid shooting night, but added 10 assists as the Lakers, who have been having problems this season also due to their ability to keep the ball, turned it over only 7 times.
Now, for the big finish – They need Nash, because Bryant can’t play point guard all-the time. It just isn’t in his bones. Because Howard is going to have worse nights on both ends on the floor in the remaining 8 games (luckily for them only 2 on the road), while Pau Gasol can’t be trusted this season. The Lakers don’t have the easiest schedule in the world, but it could be worse. It’s manageable if Nash bounces back soon.