Kobe Bryant is finally doing what he should have done with most of the injuries he’d played through – he’s resting. Turns out his sore shin will keep him out of action for a second straight game. After the last outing in Phoenix without KB24 you might assume another L is on order in New Orleans. That won’t be the case of the Lakers can do an about face and get back to their defensive minded ways.
Mike Brown’s desire to feed Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum the rock all game long finally came to fruition. His bigs beasted the Suns putting up some healthy numbers. Problem is the Lake Show never got into a defensive stance giving up a season high 125 points in Phoenix.
Against the Hornets L.A. hasn’t fared too well even with the services of Bryant. They went to O.T. last time in the Big Easy and were bailed out by Bryant’s heroics just over a week ago in Staples. In the latter contest defense wasn’t an issue because neither team could find the rim.
Tonight that won’t be the case.
Seems like every time Jarrett Jack sees purple and gold his eyes double in size. Ramon Sessions isn’t known for his defensive prowess so he’ll need to do his best to force Jack into tough shots or funnel him baseline where the sideline can act as an extra man and two seven footers are waiting in the paint.
As for the man replacing Kobe, Devin Ebanks must also get in on the defensive effort. He scored a career best 12 in Phoenix and while any offense he contributes is appreciated where he’ll be most effective is defending on the perimeter.
So often we get caught up in Kobe’s scoring that you almost overlook the fact that he’s L.A.’s best perimeter defender. Metta World Peace is definitely the most versatile defender on the roster but he’s not nearly as consist in his effort as he once was.
Truth be told, World Peace is the man that must really set the tone. As he goes the Lakers tend to follow. When Metta’s activity level is set to harass it usually becomes infectious. Who can forget his evening in Staples when he mixed it up with Blake Griffin? That is pretty much the World Peace blueprint for inspiring teammates to get in on the defensive act.
Naturally Bynum and Gasol will be key in patrolling the paint. The twin towers are the last line of defense and must play smart to avoid foul trouble. What is true for Metta holds equal weight for Drew. When he’s engaged, giving maximal effort, the Lake Show is a tough ticket to punch.
But we can talk about all of the individual efforts necessary to win without Bryant until Lamar Odom returns to the Lake Show. The real burden falls on the shoulders of Coach Brown and his staff. Whatever it was that was working early in the season has been broken. Somebody amongst the coaching staff has got to fix it. Never mind playing without Kobe. Even with his services the Lakers are going nowhere if the substandard defensive play continues.