How the Lakers can go from dormant to dominant in 24 hours remains a mystery. Why it took Mitch Kupchak so long to pull the trigger on the Ramon Sessions trade is even more confusing.
Sessions was sensational during L.A.’s 109-93 destructing of Dallas. The speedy point guard punished the Mavs with more than his blazing quickness. He also shot the lights out dropping 17 including a career best 3 triples. Even more spectacular were the 9 dimes he dished in 28 minutes off the bench.
With Ramon setting the table all Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant had to do was clean their plates.
Gasol got his game going. The Spaniard was aggressive and assertive flashing his All-Star talent all night long. For his efforts Pau posted a nice line of 27 and 9 missing only 3 of his 16 field goal attempts.
After some shaky shooting performances, the unmasked Mamba had a fantastic bounce back performance. The moment you knew this one was going to go L.A.’s way came in the third when Kobe caught a lob, got fouled yet somehow flipped the ball over his shoulder, while falling away from the hoop and still banked it in. It was one of those “you’re not stopping me tonight” moments that have dotted Kobe’s career.
After that the Mavs pretty much threw in the towel. Kobe’s jumper was falling as he rediscovered his efficient scoring touch posting a game-high 30 on 11 of 18 shooting.
However the real story of this game has got to be the defense Mike Brown got his team to play. Well…that and the Lakers being able to maintain a lead. But a lot of that comes from what they did on defense tonight.
For the first time in over a week the Lakers gave a 48-minute long commitment on the defensive end of the court. The suffocated the Mavs, forcing Dirk Nowitzki to struggle for every one of his 26 points. Metta World Peace was a pest helping Dirk in his 10 of 24 nightmare of a night.
Andrew Bynum was another reason why the Lakers were so solid on defense. He was pretty much a non-factor on offense as Dallas doubled the troubled big man, holding the Western Conference player of the week to a meek 9 and 7. But Bynum’s presence in the paint was undeniable.
Whatever it is that Brown said to his team tonight it’s a message that must be repeated for the rest of the regular season. This was a potential playoff preview after all. What with the Lake Show sitting third in the West and Dallas sixth at the moment.
Coming off of two disastrous losses to shorthanded teams, the Mavs were exactly what the doctor ordered. No disrespect to Mark Cuban’s team but they haven’t exactly seemed all that interested in defending their title. A very telling moment occurred at the end of the game when Kobe and Lamar Odom has a brief heart to heart. Odom’s struggles continued. The former Laker had just one point, one board and one assist in 23 minutes. It is truly sad to see Lamar suffering through a season like this.
But there‘s no time for sentimentality. Not when the Lakers are in the playoff push. Every game is more important then the next these days. Up next it’s a little rest for the Lakers then they’re back at it against the Blazers on Friday. Another effort like this will ensure another victory. You can take that to the bank, especially if it’s Sessions who’s driving you there.