This, by Bryant, is Jordanesque, without doubt! Can you imagine that? In his 16th season, Kobe Bryant is doing a prime Jordanesque beat down to the rest of the league. Watch out! This is startling!
Finally, the Kobe Bryant scoring pattern has somewhat been broken in the first quarter as Andrew Bynum had scored 10 points as the quarter was ending. "Was ending" is the key word, because Kobe hit a 17 foot fade away jumper with 13 seconds to bring his point total to 11 points for the quarter as it came to an end with the Lakers leading 32-28.
The quarter also saw the return of Josh McRobert into the rotation.
For Cleveland, rookie point guard K. Irving led his team with 7 points and was backed-up by Omri Casspi with 6 points.
2 minutes into the 2nd quarter, Pau Gasol hit an 11 foot jumper to bring his scoring total to 8 points as the Lakers' big 3 combined for 29 of the Lakers 34 points. This scoring pattern held until Ebanks hit a free throw with 8:59 left in the 2nd quarter.
With 7:44 left in the quarter Gasol slammed dunked the ball to bring his scoring total to 10 points as the big 3 now had 31 of the Lakers' 37 points. With 6:53 left in the quarter, Kobe hit a jumper. That's 33 of the Lakers 39 points for the big 3.
Meanwhile, the Cavs have scored 33 points in total themselves with 5:54 left in the half. Lakers 39 - Cavs 33.
Kobe adds 5 more points to his and the team's total, along with a Matt Barns lay-up who was fouled and turned the play into a 3-point play for the Lakers.
The Cavs score 5 points to bring their total to 38 points. Lakers 47 - Cavs 38.
Kobe hits another 3-pointer, along with 2 free throws by Barns to bring the Lakers' total to 52.
The Cavs add another point to their total. Lakers 52 - Cavs 39.
Finally, the Cavs score before the Lakers in the next series of plays. Irving makes a 10 foot banker, but Bynum answers that bucket with a little 7 foot hook shot to bring his total to 12 points and the Lakers' total to 54. Lakers 54 - Cavs 41.
Bam! With 1:17 left in the half, Kobe hits another 3-pointer. With 56.3 left, Gasol hits a little 6 foot hook shot in the lane to bring his total to 12 points and the Lakers' total to 59 points. Lakers 59 - Cavs 41 at the half.
Lakers' big 3 = 48 points. (Kobe 24, Bynum 12, and Gasol 12)
Cavs' team total = 41 points.
The first 6:21 in the 3rd quarter had the Cavs outscoring the Lakers 15-10. The Lakers 10 points came from Barns (6) and Gasol (4). The Cavs, K. Irving continued to lead his team with points as his team tried to stay with the Lakers. With 5:54 left in the quarter, Irving hit a 3-pointer to bring his team within 10 of the Lakers. Make that 12 as Kobe Bryant hit a jumper to make the score 71-59 Lakers.
With 4:43 left in the quarter, the Cavs' Parker makes a lay-up to make the score 71-61 Lakers.
Jamison, remember him, makes a shot to cut the Lakers lead to 8 points with 3:37 left in the quarter.
Kobe hits 1 of 2 free throw to bring the Lakers' lead back to 9 points. But the machine doesn't stop as Kobe hits a little 3 foot banker, and 1, to increase his team's lead to 12 points, 75-63. The Cavs get a point off a free throw by Erden to cut the Lakers lead to 12. But, the big 3 continues to score as Gasol hits a little jumper in the lane to increase the Lakers lead to 77-64.
Erden hits 2 more free throws, but Kobe answers that with 2 basket within a minute to make the score 82-66 Lakers.
The Cavs end the quarter's scoring with 4 points to cut the Lakers lead to 12, 82-70.
The Lakers' big 3 = 65 points.
The Cavs' team total = 70 points.
After 3 quarters of play, Kobe Bryant has 35 points.
The Cavs open up the scoring for the quarter by putting in 6 unanswered points to cut the Lakers lead to 6 points. The Lakers had 2 rookies and a 2nd year player, playing at the time. This prompted the Lakers to call a time-out with 8:49 left in the game.
With 8:16 left in the quarter Sessions hit a jumper to cut the Lakers to 4 points, 82-78.
With 7:07 left in the quarter Gee makes 1 of 2 free throws to cut the Lakers lead to 3, 82-79.
With 6:32 left in the quarter, Barns finally opens up the scoring for the Lakers by driving to the basket for a dunk to push the Lakers lead to 5 points, 84-79.
With 5:55 left in the quarter the Lakers have only scored 2 points. At that point Kobe Bryant is 13 of 25 in shooting.
With 5:14 left in the quarter Kobe Bryant goes to the free throw line and hits 1 of 2 to give the Lakers a 85-79 lead.
With 4:02 left in the quarter, Kobe Bryant hits a 19 foot jumper to extend the Lakers lead to 87-79.
Coming out of a time-out Irving makes a lay-up for the Cavs to cut the Lakers lead to 6 points, 87-81.
With 2:55 left in the quarter, Kobe Bryant hits a 18 foot turn around jumper to reach 40 points for the 3rd straight game. At that point Kobe is 15 out of 30 shooting. The Lakers lead 89-81.
With 1:32 left in the game, Bynum alley-oops off a pass from Gasol to ice the game for the Lakers 91-82.
With less than a minute left in the game Bynum went to the line and hit 1 of 2 free throws to give the Lakers a 10 point lead.
The game ends with both teams trading off points to close out the scoring. The Lakers win 97-92.
POST GAME COMMENTS:
The Lakers' bench only scored 4 points for the game. That is not a good sign for a championship caliber type team.
Both Gasol and Bynum are playing real big for the Lakers as they both had double/doubles for the night; 15 and 11 for Bynum, and 19 and 10 for Gasol. The Lakers big 3 are producing in a way that no other big 3 in the league is able to match. Also, Matt Barns came up big tonight for the Lakers by chipping in 15 points along with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Other than that, tonight was all about Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant is totally into a Jordanesque mode right now for the Lakers. He takes a lot of shots, but, recently, he shooting at almost a 50% clip, which is amazing for any player playing in their 16th season. Especially true for a non-big. Wow!
The Lakers need more from Troy Murphy. The Lakers need to invest into Murphy by making him shoot more, because, come the playoffs, he's going to need to do some scoring instead of just boxing out and rebounding from the bench.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Scanning around the league we see that Miami is struggling to get wins as is Boston. Boston, with the original "big 3" is without an effective defensive center, and, so, age seems to be getting the best of them. Miami, following in Boston's "big 3" footsteps, is now 8-4. But, let's remember that they have gotten away with a couple of last second shots to win a couple of games. They should be 6-6. Both teams lack a center and in this league, you do not win championships without a defensive presence. And there is no way around that fact. It's basketball 101.
Dallas seems to be coming around with their 4th straight win to bring their record to 7-5. Who really knows how this team is going to do, because coming off their championship season, they lost a lot of players, and are incorporating a lot of new players into their system. It's up in the air with the Mavs as to what to expect from them. Only time will tell.
Chicago, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Orlando, and Indiana are teams with the best records. I say this: give each of these teams 10 more games to see where they're coming from.
Dwight Howard seems to have his mind on getting out of Orlando, but if he looks at his team's record; he can't complain about where they're at compared to the rest of the teams in the league. What he doesn't seem to understand is that the power-brokers of the past few seasons aren't as mighty as they've been. Age has caught up with some teams, and the new CBA has stopped some of the other teams. It's anyone's championship to win this season, including Orlando. Someone should point that out to Howard.
This is a season that is to be defined by championship level players taking their teams to heights that don't, to the naked eye, seem possible. Look at Los Angeles! No, not "Lob City," but the Lakers! Kobe Bryant is putting his MVP type stamp on this season so far. In my opinion, he is willing the Lakers to the top of this lock-out shortened season. The possibilities are endless for a player, or a set of players, to take his/their team all the way. The door is wide open to the championship. Let's see what player, or set of players, walks through that door to define what this season is all about.
It seems Kobe, out here in Los Angeles, senses the opportunity to do something special in his 16th season, and he's taking that challenge, and surpassing everyone expectations, so far. As the character, Maximus, in the movie Gladiator, would say: Are you not entertained?
Kobe Bryant is gladiator! Kobe Bryant is a basketball killer! He has serious support in Bynum and Gasol in the background. The thing I keep harping on, a defensive center, the Lakers have in Bynum, and a 7 foot scoring power forward in Gasol. ARE THERE ANY CHALLENGERS?
Kobe Bryant is not joking around!