Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports
Don’t look now but the Los Angeles Lakers are on a (gasp!) win streak. Don’t blink or you might miss the rebirth of Dwight Howard. Don’t turn that dial just yet because the best could be yet to come.
After tonight’s 104-88 trouncing of the Milwaukee Bucks that makes two straight wins (at home) over teams that the Lake Show should be handling with ease. Hey, don’t call me a hater. I’m just quoting Metta World Artest on that one.
None the less two straight wins following six straight losses is a welcome change. It’s also very necessary at this point.
Now don’t let the lopsided score tonight fool you. The Bucks kept closing the gap every time the Lakers raced out to a large lead. In fact midway through the third this one had the making of another Mike D’Antoni dandy as the Bucks clawed their way to within striking distance.
But in the end it was way too much Mamba and D12 for the Bucks to handle.
Kobe Bryant made it 22 straight games with at least 20+ as he shared game honors with Howard. Both of the Lake Show headliners dropped 31 a piece.
For Howard it was perhaps the first time we’ve seen the dominant big man that was expected after the summer’s mega trade. Howard was a beast tonight grabbing 16 boards, swatting 4 shots and perhaps most impressively of all logging 40 minutes on the court.
Slowly but surely Iron Man is living up to his new nickname. The Howard of Orlando is finally appearing in Purple and Gold.
As for KB24 it was another reminder of just how evolved his game has become. Were it not for the Lakers’ hideous record Bryant would be getting all kinds of MVP love. Kobe killed it making a sick 12 of 19 shots from the floor including some of those improbable and impossible shots on he can make on a nightly basis.
What was unusual is that the Lakers only had four players in double figures, a stark contrast to the normal D’Antoni box score.
Something even more unusual was the defense played. OK, to be fair the Bucks are far from an offensive juggernaut. However anytime you hold an NBA opponent to 88 points on only 35% shooting your odds of winning drastically increase. Monta Ellis and L.A. native Brandon Jennings combined to shoot a lowly 10 of 30.
Even more unusual were the 10 turnovers committed by the Lakers tonight. Normally that’s one half of hoops for this sloppy squad.
Could it be? Is everything coming together? Is this a sign of things to come?
Well, we won’t have to wait too long to find out as the world champion Miami Heat come to town on Thursday. If ever there was a litmus test for this team its now. Miami might not be playing their best ball at the moment but that hardly matters given the nature of most of L.A.’s losses on the season. Hate to put too much on it but the season could seriously be decided in two days time.
Another win will constitute and actual streak. A loss will send this squad back to the drawing board.