Deserved of at least reserved celebration, the Lakers liberated themselves from the oppression of losing, ending their mercurial road trip on a decidedly positive note. 11-14 never felt so good. With Pau rumored to return on the 22nd and Nash getting closer each day, the Lakers focused on the next step of coupling successes by overcoming their tendency to forget exactly how they did it the previous game. Instead of distancing themselves from their winning ways, Kobe and the road weary Lakers reunited with their offense in the city of Brotherly Love.
Kobe, most likely taking his own advice to his Lower Merion brethren of dedication and perseverance, lit up the 76ers for 34 on 12-21 shooting in front of raucous crowd featuring the Dr., Julius Errrr-ving. MWP channeled his inner-Moses Malone and collected a career-high 16 boards. Amidst his shot clean up duty, Peace drained 6-10 for 19 points, leading a charge of the points brigade for the Lakers. Dwight brought his usual double-double to the table, providing 17 points and 11 rebounds. Darius Morris un-slumped and found his shot, making his first five for 15 points. Duhon and Meeks added 14 and 12 respectively, as the Lakers made 41% of their 35 threes.
Former USC Trojan Nick Young paced the Sixers with 30, hitting 6-12 from 3. Philly, without the services of Jrue Holiday at point, suffered the Lakers’ chronic pain of 18 turnovers without their starting distributor. The Sixers leaned on their multi-talented shooting guard, Evan Turner to run the show. But, as Kob understands, it required more energy to facilitate than score, let alone both. Turner’s 16 and Thaddeus Young’s 14 points would not be enough as the Lakers built a 10-point lead at the half and sustained it with a balanced attack on offense.
Yes, I said balanced attack on offense.
Recently, various statistical comparisons of the number of shots taken by Kobe versus those of his teammates, gaining most of its traction after a depression meds seeking loss to the Cavs, have garnered some popularity. Far be it for critics to belittle the newest Mr. 30,000 for filling up the FGA stat line, especially when his teammates miss shots. However, the Lakers feel more successful when Kobe shoots less.
Against the Cavs, Kobe put up 28 shots, while the rest of the Lakers took 47 of the team’s total of 75. He registered 37% of the team’s shots. In the close shave loss in New York, Kobe took 24 of the 84 shots for 28%. Kobe accounted for 35% of the shots in a long awaited win versus the Wiz in D.C., shooting 29 of the team’s 82. Finally, on Sunday, the Lakers launched 80 shots, and Kobe provided 21, or 26% of them.
Hmm…looks pretty even. This might require a bit more investigation.
As continued explanations for the struggles in LA persist, aside from the obvious loss of two starters due to injury, the real number to pay attention to is the number of FGM by the rest of the team. The Lakers enjoyed six players in double-digits and shot near 49% from the field.
When the other Lakers are hitting shots, this naturally inhibits the Mamba from taking too many of his own. The logic seems simple enough, but the next game that features brick after brick and a growing lead by the opposition, watch Kobe’s response. Try to understand the motivation behind a sudden array of jumpers and forays to the bucket. Notice how Kobe might look off an open teammate on the wing or a rolling teammate to the bucket and throw up a contested shot. It’s his job.