It was certainly the darkest hour in a dismal season as the Lakers trailed the league-worst Charlotte Bobcats by as many as 2o in the third period. The scene was very surreal as the season looked likely to hit its lowest point. Halfway through that fateful third Kobe Bryant had yet to even scratch on the evening.
Then, as if scripted like so much Lake Show drama, the switch was flipped and order restored.
In the final 18 minutes of game action Kobe morphed back into Black Mamba scoring all 20 of his points in that span as the Lakers came roaring back to win 100-93.
This could have been bad. This could have been ugly. This could have been the bottom.
Instead it was a much needed win coming off the hideous showing in Boston thanks to a fantastic fourth in which the Lake Show outscored Charlotte 31-15.
Hard to know if this was a case of Kobe trying to get his teammates involved early as Dwight Howard was the lone Laker to show any real pulse in the first half. This also could have been Kobe trying to prove a point, we’ve certainly seen instances like that in previous years. Then again it could just be more contrived Lakers drama meant to keep us all watching what should have been a no-contest.
No matter the logic or lack thereof it was a win.
The box score will show Bryant as the team’s leading scorer with Earl Clark and Steve Nash posting 17 each.
Clark did another daily double grabbing 10 board while Nash dished out 7 dimes.
Howard started fast but finished slow scoring 12 on the night along with pulling down 11 boards. I’m not even going to get into his shoulder situation but it should be noted he was good for 37 minutes of action. Make of that whatever you will.
The Bobcats got solid efforts across the board from Gerald Henderson, Byron Mullens, Kemba Walker and even one-time Laker Ramon Sessions who shined in his sixth man role. However the youth of this team showed as they crumbled in the fourth falling to a lowly record of 11-38.
For the Lakers this win gets them back to within three games of .500 at 24-27 but still leaves plenty of questions. The good news is that there is just one stop left on this Grammy road trip. Perhaps the bad news is that they make their final tour stop in Miami where the defending champs await. Another slow start like this one will make for another embarrassment in the national spotlight. An inspired effort might just be the springboard we’ve all been waiting for. Let’s hope for the latter.