16 years in the league. Wrist all messed-up. And what does he do? He drops 39 points on the Warriors, tonight, to lead the Lakers to a 97-90 victory.
While covering the Lakers in my blogs, I usually don't make much mention of Kobe Bryant because to do so would be redundant, wouldn't it? Kobe is going to do what Kobe does. That is not what makes the Lakers lose or win. It's what the other players do that determines that.
But, tonight, I had to mention Kobe because without his game, the Lakers lose this one. It's that simple.
The top dog comes through, again, for the Lakers.
The 2nd option for the Lakers, Andrew Bynum, well, let's put it this way:
The Warriors led the Lakers at the half 39-35. What was interesting at that point were Andrew Bynum's numbers. Bynum had 3 points and 7 rebounds at the halfway point. This is not coincidental at all. Andrew Bynum is a big, physical, and an aggressive guy. At 7'0" tall and weighing 280 lbs., Bynum, usually, has his way with almost every center in the league he faces. The problem tonight, in facing the Warriors, is that Kwame Brown is 6'11" and 270 lbs. And, Kwame is a very strong individual.
What does all that mean? It means that Bynum can't push Kwame around in the low post. So, Bynum has to settle for shots farther away from the basket. And, of course, that means a lower shooting percentage, if he shoots at all. Case in point: Bynum only had 4 shots for the Lakers in the first half. And that wasn't because the Lakers weren't trying to get the ball to him. It's because when he was looked upon, as an option, he wasn't in usual "good" position near the rim.
That makes the Lakers take a whole new approach to how they operate their offense.
In other words: Kwame Brown is a true defensive center. When a defensive player can take away your "big" offensive threat, and make you play out of a half-court set, that is huge! That is called sealing the paint. That doesn't mean that the defensive center will get big stats, but what he does is create a court configuration that allows his team to stay defensively competitive throughout the game.
Another big body theory point: the Lakers outscored the Warriors 32-19 in the 3rd quarter. When Kwame Brown was pulled with 2:44 left to go in the quarter; the score was 57-56 Lakers. When he came back in the game with 5 seconds left; the Lakers were up 64-58. In other words: the Lakers outscored the Warriors 7-2 in the 2:43, of time, that Kwame was out of the game. Then Kobe Bryant hit a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining to make the score 67-58 to end the 3rd quarter.
This is the only quarter the Lakers outscored the Warriors. Andrew Bynum did not score a point in this quarter.
In the 4th quarter Bynum picked his final 6 points to finish with 9 points for the game.
The Warrior have a good defensive center if they would truly commit to the defensive philosophy that coach Jackson said he would. Whether that is enough to get the Warriors to the playoffs, I don't know, because I have no idea about Curry's injury, and Ellis' commitment to that style of play is questionable.
But, the Lakers, on the other hand, got a decent night, of performance, from their 3rd option, Pau Gasol. Gasol finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Isn't it great to have a 3rd option like Gasol? When Bynum doesn't come with the big numbers, Gasol, will less pressure to perform as the number 2 option, should fill out the stats sheet pretty good as the 3rd option.
That, of course, is great to have, when your 1st option drops 39 points. lol!
The guy is simply amazing!
Kobe Bryant is just jaw-dropping amazing for being in his 16th year in the league.