Jan 15th, at Seattle: Seattle Supersonics 121 – LA Lakers 123 (OT).
I’m sure most LA fans breathed a sigh of relief at the end of this game, and yes, there were some alarming signs during this game. With the loss of Andrew Bynum to a knee injury against Memphis, and being ruled out for at least 8 weeks, the chance was always that Kobe was going to feel the pressure to step up his offensive presence.
And did he ever.
48 points in an offensive juggernaut performance, without doubt he was the reason the Lakers won this game… but he took 44 shots to get to that 48, and only had 2 assists and 2 rebounds.
Is Kobe returning to the player that wouldn’t pass, wouldn’t trust?
Is it time to worry?
No, it’s not.
If something this awful had to happen, it probably couldn’t happen at a better time.
Whilst there are games against San Antonio, Phoenix and Dallas in there, at this point in time, none of those teams are playing the best either. The rest of the schedule is against teams that should be beatable, even sans-Bynum. Do any of the big 3 – the Spurs, the Mavs, the Suns – look unbeatable at the moment? The Lakers direct rival in the Pacific, the Phoenix Suns, have started ’08 poorly… at least by their lofty standards. 4-3 thus far, including a huge loss to the Jazz, and a loss to the lowly Clippers. The Mavericks have started pretty well – except for that loss to Sacramento – but had a pretty average December, managing 9 wins against 6 losses. The Spurs are the Spurs. But they too have started the New Year sluggishly, matching Phoenix’s 4-3 record.
Whilst Bynum will be out, 2 games versus both Dallas & Phoenix, 1 against San Antonio.
The All-Star weekend gives nearly another week of no games for the Lakers (5 days without games)… that helps too.
There are rumours flying about at the moment about interest in Chris Webber. C-Webb would fit pretty nicely into the triangle offense – he passes & shoots well. But… is he physically fit? According to the LA Times, other options being explored are said to be P.J. Brown, and DJ Mbenga.
And Kobe… At first glance, his performance against the Sonics would have fans thinking that we’re returning to the “old Kobe”. Unfortunately I didn’t see the game, but everything I’ve read points to declaring that an ‘untruth’.
Blogging over at Yahoo, Kelly Dwyer stated
“Kobe took a series of really, really good shots that rimmed out.”
“He wasn’t a ballhog, he wasn’t being selfish…”
Filling in for Kurt over at Forum Blue and Gold, Rob L points out that statistically, he concluded that
“that Kobe rocks the casbah.”
Within, the other young Lakers now have to step up. The big complaint on Kobe Bryant was that he didn’t trust his team, he didn’t make them better. Well, thus far this season he has, and it’s paid dividends. Derek Fisher will be fine, so will Lamar Odom. I couldn’t see myself saying this a season ago, but the return of Vladimir Radmanovic will help too. The Lakers need players like Jordan Farmar, Ronny Turiaf, Trevor Ariza and Luke Walton to come up big over the next two months. The player that’s going to see the most pressure is Kwame Brown. If ever he had a chance to make or break his career, this is it.
In Japanese, the kanji for ‘disaster’ is ‘kiki’ (pictured). The kanji is made of two others – ‘danger’, and ‘opportunity’.