The post-Kobe Bryant era began with a reminder that these Lakers aren’t dead yet. For those wanting to author the autopsy of the greatest franchise in sports you’d better make sure to check the pulse first cause the heart of champion still beats. At least for one night it’s still thumping
Tonight’s 91-86 win over the San Antonio Spurs was far from flawless. In fact this game was downright unwatchable at some points as both teams combined to shoot 36% from the field but the result is all that matters.
Desperately needing someone to step up and step in as the new Mamba from a leadership standpoint it was Dwight Howard that set the tone early as the All-Star center asserted himself from the jump. D12 was a dominant force in the paint giving future Hall of Famer Time Duncan all he could handle.
After the dust settled from Dwight’s destruction filled the box with 26, 17 and 3 blocks. But it wasn’t Howard alone that set the tone.
Steve Blake has quietly enjoyed his best season in Purple and Gold as he continues to thrive in the Mike D’Antoni system. On this evening Blake did his best Steph Curry imitation by lighting it up in the first half scoring 18 of his 23 in the first 24 minutes. Blake made 4 of his first 5 triples helping the Lake Show to overcome some careless turnovers and sloppy play.
Pau Gasol came up with some big plays in clutch but overall his impact was felt most on the boards as he cleared the glass 16 times. For those keeping score that’s 33 rebounds between Pau and Dwight. That’s a winning recipe, something the Spurs should take note of in case these two by chance tangle in the first round of the playoffs.
Now make no mistake there were mistakes-a-plenty made by the Lakers tonight. Far too often the Spurs’ best perimeter players were left all alone and Duncan still went off for 23 and 10. None the less this was a quality win and a clear message that this team isn’t going quietly into the night.