The number 14 has a varied significance.
There are 14 lines in a sonnet, a poetic staple of any aspiring writer.
Both Bob Cousy and Oscar Robertson, two of the NBA’s most prolific passers, wore the number 14 when they played for the Celtics and the Cincinnati Royals, respectively.
Laker legend and passing archetype Magic Johnson was born on August 14th.
Piano Sonata #14, or the Moonlight Sonata, is well regarded as Beethoven’s most famous work. It also happens to have certain significance for Kobe Bryant.
Is it this moment, following LA’s 3rd loss in a row, a 6th consecutive loss on the road, when KoBeethoven began to hatch the plan to completely change the game and the fortunes of his team? To help them play together, in unison?
I enjoy winning, you know what I mean? However it comes. It doesn’t matter. We just gotta figure out a way to win ballgames. And that’s what I enjoy the most.”
–Kobe Bryant following W over OKC
Since Kobe has embraced 14, the number of assists he has provided for his team in back-to-back wins, the Lakers have experienced a metamorphosis from disastrous disappointment to truly transcendent.
His performances have been pure poetry, calmly finding lanes to the basket only to pause before an expected shot and drop off a pass to a cutting teammate. The proof is in the FG%. 55% from the field, including 6-11 from Nash and 7-10 from Pau, paced kept the Lakers in this seesaw battle. Kobe was 8-12 for 21 points, but he did so by expending little energy. Made baskets hindered Westbrook’s ability to push the issue and get layups and dunks. He finished 6-22 because Kobe could chase him from jump. The Lakers collectively picked up Kob’s lack of volume shooting as he led them with precision passes. Six players in double-digits paired with an improved defensive rotation, this cataclysmic shift in mind set must go on. Dwight even had an off night from the field, 3-7, and FT line, 2-10. KD lit up the Lakers for 35. Westbrook was two boards away from his own triple-double. It didn’t matter. The Lakers outlasted the Thunder 105-96.
This is teamwork.
As the Lakers found their stride, the cheers once steeped in “Right,” “It’s about time,” and “Good, keep it up,” lost their cynicism, their air of doubt. The lingering effects of a season of everything going wrong wore off. Fans anticipated positive plays with their growing voices, and celebrated them with their cries. This was legitimate jubilation. The team so heralded, so deconstructed, so disappointing, had finally arrived.
A moral victory against a quality opponent, namely the reigning Western Conference champs, actually was a victory.