The Lakers as a whole are still very much in preseason form. Pau Gasol took Tuesday night off just because. Steve Nash was rested for the entire second half, not that it mattered though. The Lake Show had pretty much closed the curtain by halftime trailing the Utah Jazz by 20 at the break.
The kind of effort the Lakers displayed last night in another lackluster loss to Utah looked nothing at all like what we’ll see once the regular season begins. For now Mike Brown is just paying credence to the advice of Phil Jackson by letting his vets take it easy when there’s nothing on the line.
That’s why it shouldn’t at all be a surprise that the only man who didn’t get the preseason memo was Kobe Bryant. Mamba was in playoff form last night despite the Lakers lopsided 114-80 spanking by the Jazz.
KB24 dropped nearly half of the Lakers’ points putting a healthy 31 in the end of the box score. But that’s only half the story. 23 of those points came in the third quarter as Kobe took his regular season game for a test drive if for no other reason just to see where he stands.
Ask the Jazz and they’ll tell you that the King Snake has the same venom in his fangs now that you’ll find in June. Bryant killed it in classic Kobe style with indefensible shots, scientific execution and devastating moves that made an enjoyable watch out of an otherwise unbearable game.
Hard to imagine how much worse it would have been if Kobe didn’t decide to dust off his regular season intensity. The same questions keep circling the purple and gold drain.
Is this bench going to be able to step up to championship caliber form when necessary? Will depth again be the Achilles heel?
Coach Brown’s bench was already thin before Jordan Hill and Earl Clark went down. Without Pau and while still awaiting the arrival of Dwight Howard last night’s second unit was downright anorexic. The record will show an 0-4 Lake Show thus far in 2012. But that will all be forgotten in a few weeks. Until then let’s just make our peace with this version of the Lakers while still rejoicing in the continued brilliance of Bryant.