Anytime some talking head gets in front of the camera to discuss the Los Angeles Lakers there is a 70% chance at some point said babbling toupee will say something along the lines of “Kobe Bryant needs to pass more”. Normally that analysis is about as insightful as a Manti Te’o interview. However there are those rare occasions in which that is exactly what the Lake Show needs.
Last night against the Utah Jazz was just such an occasion.
With the Lakers looking likely to implode in a blaze of epic failure glory Bryant did something no one saw coming – he gave Steve Nash the night off.
Clearly looking to get Dwight Howard out of his childish funk Bryant made it a point to get D12 the ball early and often. KB24 threw a beautiful lob to Howard in the first quarter that really set the tone for the night.
By the time the dust settled the Lakers had snapped a four game losing streak and Kobe finished one assist shy of equaling a career high. For good measure he also was one rebound away from his second triple-double of the season. But it’s those 14 dimes that steal the headline.
Kobe’s night as team facilitator not only created a balanced scoring attack but it also demonstrated how good this team can be when everything works in harmony. Instead of blindly running at every opportunity the Lakers picked the most opportune moments to run on the Jazz. In the end Bryant’s assists ballooned while Nash saw his shrink to just two on the evening. But the result is all that matters.
Now for those same talking heads that will look to this win as a blueprint keep in mind the Lakers were playing the Utah Jazz. While the Jazz are sitting pretty (when compared to the Lakers) in the 7th seed for the Western playoff hunt, they are by no means a team that the Lakers should have much trouble handling. Come Sunday the Lakers are going to need more than 14 points from Kobe in order to have any chance of victory against Oklahoma City. However this game did show us that there is more than one way for Bryant to bring out the best in his teammates. Every night is a learning process for this team and each lesson helps build a winning formula.