A fractured team, the Los Angeles Lakers are. Kobe Bryant doesn’t respect Dwight Howard, and drags the rest of the team with him. Howard is playing injured, but isn’t happy about the whole situation. And still, easy road games make for results that might a be a bit confusing and misleading.
The Lakers pulled off a 100-93 in Charlotte against the Bobcats, coming back from 20 points behind in the third quarter to now be three games below .500 before they head into Miami for a big showdown against the Heat on Sunday. Kobe Bryant led the team with 20 points, adding 7 rebounds and 8 assists, scoring 14 of them in the final quarter. Bryant scored the Lakers’ final 8 points, so the whole Bryant passing thing didn’t last when it mattered the most, this time finishing with a happy ending.
Kobe Bryant finished with 20 points after going scoreless in the first half. It was the second-most points Bryant has scored in a game in his career after a scoreless first half. He scored 27 points on December 12, 1997 against the Rockets after failing to record a point in the first half. Yes, Bryant, scoreless in the first half, as he was trying to get other players to share the load, without much success on both ends of the floor. It was Bryant’s first scoreless first half this season. In fact, it’s Bryant’s first scoreless first half since March 31, 2012 against the Hornets (missed first 15 shots that night). He finished that game with 11 points.
There seems to be rift in the team. Bryant has his own agenda. It’s about winning, but his way, and despite the Lakers looking a bit more “planned” in their offense in the last couple of weeks, the latest drama with Howard has created this chilly feeling on the floor between almost everyone on the floor. Bryant showed once again that the Lakers are about him, and then the rest of the guys, regardless of his age and the presence of someone like Dwight Howard. This is his team, and it’ll live and die with him saying the final word.
In the second half, I got in position where I could catch it and turn and shoot it a little bit. They were reluctant to double team because we started knocking down some shots. I think that makes the game a lot easier. When we have shots available, we take them. If we don’t, move the ball on. It can’t be about individual touches. It can’t be about that.
The most interesting train wreck in the NBA carries on, still within touching distance of a playoff spot. Most don’t believe they’ll get there. Bryant isn’t good enough to carry a team on his back anymore with just his scoring, but he doesn’t trust his teammates enough to try and win it without him. His own head coach looks like he is simply waiting for miracles to happen on the floor, believing in a system that at any moment can be scrapped because Bryant just feels like taking the game on his back.
Dwight Howard? He finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. He’s sulking his way to victory, saying the right things, but his body language and his effort on the floor tells a different story. This isn’t the last implosion we’ve had from the Lakers this season, who are winning despite making all the wrong moves off the court.