Game Report: Lakers defeat Hornets: 103 – 87
On the night that was all about Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant was all about his team, and that bodes well for the Lakers going forward.
Bryant became the fifth player to reach 30,000 points for his career when he slashed through the lane and shot over Robin Lopez in the second quarter. 30,000 points is an amazing accomplishment.
Prior to the game, Commissioner David Stern said that Kobe – because of his talent and his work ethic (and his rings, I would add) – deserves to be talked about in the same breath as Michael Jordan.
But on this night that was all about Kobe, Kobe did two things that signalled that he is putting his team first.
The first was his shot selection. Tonight, Kobe shot 59% (10-17) from the field, which is excellent, especially for a guard. Of more interest, though, is that his 17 field goal attempts were only 21% of the Lakers’ 80 attempts.
As a point of comparison, on the previous night, in Houston, Kobe’s 31 field goal attempts (14-31) represented 38% of the Lakers’ 82 attempts. And two nights earlier in Orlando, his 27 field goal attempts (12-27) represented 31% of the Lakers’ 86 attempts.
Kobe still took more shots than anyone against the Hornets, but by only taking 21% of his team’s shots, he allowed Peace and Jamison to each have 12 field goal attempts, and Howard and Meeks to each have 11. Everyone was involved in the offense, and I think that when you’re involved in the offense you are more engaged on defense, and generally feel as though you are a contributing member of the team.
And that leads to better team chemistry.
Who was it that orchestrated the offensive balance tonight? It was none other than Mr. Chris Duhon, who recorded 10 assists and 0 turnovers against the Hornets. Duhon only had three field goal attempts himself, as he was clearly focussed on being a facilitator, but he facilitated both effectively and efficiently.
Also worth noting is that the Lakers as a team assisted on 24 of their 37 baskets, or 65% of them. That’s not a spectacular percentage, but it is solid, and is a lot better than the night before in Houston, when they assisted on only 16 of their 38 baskets (42%).
I said Bryant did two things tonight that showed he put the team first. The first was being a part of the team offense rather than the entire team offense, as described above.
The second was allowing Dwight Howard to emerge as a leader on this team. This was so important, I think, that it deserves its own article. To find out what I’m talking about, please read “The Emergence of Dwight Howard as Witnessed on Twitter.”
Lakers Player of the Game
I know Dwight Howard ruled the third quarter, but Player of the Game goes to Kobe Bryant – and not just because of his big milestone. Kobe scored 29 points on an efficient 10-17 (1-4 on 3PTers) from the field and a stellar 8-9 from the line. He added six rebounds, four assists, three steals, and only one turnover.
Tonight’s Top Two Tweets in my Twitter Feed
Actually, there were roughly 25 tweets in my twitter feed tonight that – collectively – were so interesting that I decided to collect them and have them form an article unto themselves. Please read “The Emergence of Dwight Howard as Witnessed on Twitter.”
Friday, December 7 at the Oklahoma City Thunder, 6:30 p.m. PST