Kobe Bryant Prevents Net Loss For Lakers

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

If nothing else the Lakers are dependable. You can count on plenty of drama both on and off the court. You can also set your watch to the Lake Show getting a big lead and blowing it.

Thankfully you can always count on Kobe Bryant to do trying when he knows his team needs a lift. Since that 0 for 15 start against New Orleans Mamba has been out for blood.

KB24 hit his number dropping 24, the last 5 of which came in the clutch.

Even without Andrew Bynum the Lakers balled out to a 17 point lead on the hapless New Jersey Nets. Typical of the Lakers they let their foot off the pedal let the former Mr. Kardashain go off for 18 and 15 then watched as Deron Williams dropped 10 of his 20 in the final frame.

D-Will was doing the Lakers dirty. He crossed Matt Barnes to set up a sick step back then followed that up with a couple crucial shots in the clutch. About all that did though was to awaken the Mamba though.

Bryant traded buckets with Williams late. The first time Bryant answered Williams with a fade away over two Nets. The second time was the game winner, a three to beat the shot clock from a good 28 feet that went in and out then teased the crowd on the back of rim before going in.

A near loss to another NBA bottom feeder saved by Bryant. Another clutch moment for Mamba equaled a 91-87 squeaker for the Lakers. Another big lead in the second half that turned into a tense finish.

If nothing else these Lakers are very dependable.

This one got away from L.A. late. It really shouldn’t have been this close.

Ramon Sessions stepped up in Bynum’s absence. He matched what you’d expect from Drew as far as scoring goes with 19 points. He did what Bynum will never do in dropping 11 dimes. As improved as the Lakers have been with a quality point guard they’re still having trouble getting quality possessions late. That is a problem. Sessions was saved by a replay that gave L.A. the final possession late when he got caught in the air on near turnover.

Pau Gasol also played up with no Bynum by his side. The Spaniard is back into All-Star form. At the same time you’d expect a team out classed in the post like the Nets to give up 22 and 12 to Pau without breaking a sweat. Gasol did show some nastiness though as he mixed it up with the former Kris Kardashian.

In continuing with the theme of doing Drew’s job while he recovers, Barnes grabbed 10 boards. Josh McRoberts got the start and though he didn’t contribute much in 27 minutes he did hit the most ridiculous shot he’ll ever make. Now if only Metta World Peace would add something to this party and maybe these games wouldn’t be so close late.

Not to single out Metta but his tendencies are part of the Lakers problem in losing leads. Once L.A. has the lead they start to settle for jumpers instead of getting into the offense and working for good shots. World Peace just camps out behind the arc these days. But never mind the perimeter players it’s the guys in the post that should get more touches late.

None of what is happening is a surprise any more. Mike Brown has had an entire year to sort out plenty of the problems. The Nets were the last Eastern Conference team on the Lakers’ schedule so from here out it’s nothing but the Big Bad West to put L.A. to the test. These are all playoff games starting with the Battle of Los Angeles tomorrow. Time for the Lakers to start looking like a playoff team.

Topics: Andrew Bynum, Deron Williams, Josh Mcroberts, Kobe Bryant, Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace, Mike Brown, New Jersey Nets, Pau Gasol, Ramon Sessions

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