Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Kobe Goes From Goat To G.O.A.T. With Game Winner

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After this one was over Kobe Bryant summed up his ugly 3 of 21 shooting effort with one word – “awful”.

Mamba can cut and past that answer onto any question about the Lakers effort in an uninspired 88-85 win over the New Orleans Hornets in a hapless hoops matinee today.

Basketball will never be a numbers game and as proof all you had to do was watch the Lake Show stumble out of Staples with a win today.  Everything about this one was awful.

The bottom of the West Hornets only suited up 8 players today yet had a 10-point lead in the 4th quarter. Kobe missed his first 16 shots and didn’t scratch until 7 minutes left in the game.

It was looking like the Lakers were finally going to hit rock bottom. Another home loss, this one at the hands of an NBA bottom dweller. Kobe’s cold shooting wasn’t to blame but rest assured he would have been the goat had L.A. choked this one away.

But there is a reason why Kobe Bryant is in the conversation for being G.O.A.T. be it in NBA history or Lakers history. Just to prove it Bryant did what he always does. He stayed confident despite suffering through a career worst game.

Bryant got it going in the Lakers darkest hour. He shook off his ugly shooting afternoon by scoring all 11 of his points in the 4th including the eventual game winner. With the Lakers trailing by two and under 30 seconds to play Bryant buried a dagger on a calm and confident shot from downtown. Trevor Arzia, sitting this one out with injury, just cracked a smile without even reacting to Kobe’s clutch shot. It’s like he knew there was no doubt Bryant would bury the Hornets.

Vintage Kobe even in a game where Bryant was anything but his normal self. Then again, these days Kobe’s stroke has been missing in action. This was yet another terrible game as far as shooting the rock goes. Kobe did dish out 5 dimes but had he not hit that triple late his streak of 106 games in double figures would have come crashing down.

For whatever reason the Lakers are sleepwalking through the season lately, this wasn’t about New Orleans playing a great game. Respect due because Monty Williams does get a quality effort from his players. Truth be told this one was more about what the Lakers didn’t do as opposed to what the Hornets did.

Now Kobe can thank Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol for carrying this team while until he finally found his jumper. Both of the Laker bigs were unstoppable. The Spaniard went for 21 and 11 with Drew getting off for 19 and 10. Combined they shot 15 of 24.

Yeah, hard to understand why Kobe was even trying to shoot with his bigs going off like that. Even more difficult to come to grips with is why Bryant kept settling for jumpers instead of attacking the hoop. He didn’t even shoot a free throw until the fourth.

Even though he missed a couple of clutch free throws Ramon Sessions was a big factor in this win too. He was the third Laker with a double-double in this matinee. 10 points and 10 dimes in 32 minutes with his last two points coming on an attacking layup in transition that came on the heels of those missed free throws. Hate to keep finding more reasons to criticize Mike Brown but Sessions needs to get more minutes on the court.

It goes without saying that the positives are few and far between in this hideous win. After being blown away by the West’s best Thunder it would have been disastrous to be beaten by the lowly Hornets.

Kobe’s clutch nature can’t hide the Lakers imperfections any longer.

There was really no reason the Lakers should have won. But they did. Not the kind of game you’ll be talking about for years to come but certainly a memorable if not infamous chapter in the many clutch tales of Kobe Bryant. This chapter called how Kobe went from goat to G.O.A.T. in one afternoon.

Tags: Andrew Bynum Game Winner Kobe Bryant Mike Brown Monty Williams New Orleans Hornets Pau Gasol Ramon Sessions Trevor Ariza