Tonight we had a first for the Mike Brown era in Los Angeles. The Lake Show finally topped the 100-point plateau. Now a lot of that had to do with Kobe Bryant who was in killer mode and Andrew Bynum who was in beast mode. The new dynamic duo combined for 58 of the Lakers’ 108 points while the defense held Houston to 99 points on 42% shooting.
KB24 reminded the Rockets and the rest of the league alike that he’s still Mamba with his. Bryant put that dismal shooting night in Denver behind him by burying 14 of 29 shots en route to 37 points. Considering Bryant started 5 for 14 it was pretty amazing to see him shift into overdrive in the second half. For good measure Kobe rounded out his fantastic fantasy line with 8 boards and 6 dimes.
All of the criticism of Kobe in Denver disappeared tonight in Los Angeles. He didn’t force shots, attacked the hoop and took advantage of every Rocket that dared defend him. It was a vintage performance that echoed one of those Mamba takeovers we saw so often back in ’06. Just to punctuated the evening Bryant even preserved free tacos for the Staples crowd by blocking a last second three attempted by Kyle Lowry
As for Bynum…
Just let the stats tell the story. 21 points, 22 boards and 3 blocks. Tonight was Drew’s first ever 20-20 game and it continued his dominant ways early in the season. Immediately after the game when asked of Drew’s 20-20 vision Kobe said, “There’s plenty more to come”.
We can only hope so.
Right before our eyes Bynum is blossoming into the franchise big man we’ve been waiting to see. The Altered Beast was aggressive when he got the ball on the block and just bullied his way to get into good position on the boards.
There really is no way for the Lake Show to lose when they’re getting contributions like this from Kobe and Drew.
Perhaps getting a little lost in the shuffle is Pau Gasol. Once again Gasol played another good but not great game. He was solid posting 14 and 8 but you might have thought Pau would play with a little more attitude considering he was a Houston Rocket for a hot second. Instead we got a quality performance with no real talking points.
If there is going to be any talking tomorrow it should be about how well the Lakers executed their offense tonight. For once the ball was going into the post first allowing the perimeter guys to get better looks. The three point attempts were slightly down tonight as well. That has been a real crutch for this team lately. Not tonight as the ball went through Bynum but found its way to Bryant most often.
This is truly a recipe for success.
Part of the seasoning in this winning formula is Steve Blake. Stevie Ballgame is really out to prove last year was a fluke. Again he showed supreme confidence in his jumper nailing 4 of 8 shots for 11 points of the bench. Metta World Peace is still trying to make his peace with being a 6th man. 4 points on 6 shots just isn’t helping replace the loss of Lamar Odom but MWP’s 5 dimes were a nice contribution.
Watching this team you feel most of the players are just now starting to get comfortable in their roles. While you can’t read too much into beating a Houston team that is still looking for an identity there was plenty to build on.
The defense was solid, the offense was excellent and most important of all the Lake Show slammed the door shut in the fourth. Ok, so it wasn’t a perfect ending. The lead was as big as 10 with 4 minutes to play and there were more careless turnovers late. Overall it was a win that had more positives than negatives though.
Coach Brown’s hoops philosophy is really coming into frame and I’ve got to tell you the focus on it is looking sharp.