From an infuriating lack of defense to Kobe erupting in the fourth quarter, the Lakers’ Tuesday night contest with the Hornets showed us the spectrum of everything we could possibly love and hate about this team.
The 104-96 victory now places L.A. half a game ahead of the Utah Jazz and in control of their playoff hopes.
With that, what good is a dramatic finish in Staples Center without a good old fashioned overreaction to every players performance.
Players will not appear if they did not play at least 15 minutes*
Kobe Bryant: A
Through three quarters, Bryant was nowhere to be found. But in classic Mamba fashion he erupted for 23 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter. He also registered 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals – easily overshadowing his 5 turnovers.
The Lakers would have been lost without his late game heroics. Imagine that.
Earl Clark: D
The silver lining? Clark finished with 5 assists. Elsewhere he was a walking foul, picking up 5 personals in only 24 minutes of play. Not the greatest impression after landing a start over Jodie Meeks.
Dwight Howard: B
While his performance certainly had its flaws (4 TO, 5 PF), Howard showed flashes of brilliance and an improved chemistry with Gasol and Bryant.
He finished with 19 points (9-13 FG), 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks.
Pau Gasol: A+ (Player of the game)
A shaky start, but Gasol was incredible with 22 points (9-15), 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks. So while Kobe’s takeover might be what makes SportsCenter, Gasol was the reason they were even close enough to strike in the first place.
Steve Blake: C+
He continues to play well, however it’d be nice if he capitalized on a few more of those open threes though – finishing 3-6 from downtown. He is, of course, still a liability on defense.
He finished with 7 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
Antawn Jamison: B
13 points (5-11 FG), 8 rebounds, a steal and only one turnover in 24 minutes. If only we saw this level of production consistently.
Metta World Peace: A
Any time you come back from knee surgery four weeks early and proceed to play with enough passion to pick up a technical, you get an “A” in our book.
Jodie Meeks: B-
Laker fans everywhere were excited when Meeks had a miniature outburst for a few minutes, including a one man fast break – shades of Tony Parker.
But then he managed to go 1-5 from beyond the arc and we came to our senses.
So who did you think was the player of the game?
What grades were too low, which were too high?
And most importantly, what do the Lakers need to continue to do (or not do) to make the playoffs?