From Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles: Kobe Bryant registered just the 18th triple-double of his 17-year career Sunday in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 119-108 win over the Houston Rockets, but as rare as triple-dips have come for Bryant, the more remarkable sight was how in sync his game operated along with Dwight Howard. Several of Bryant’s game-high 11 assists were delivered to Howard, who scored 28 points to Bryant’s 22. One of Bryant’s assists to Howard came after Kobe drove to the basket and dumped it off to the big man at the last second, gift wrapping a wide-open dunk. Another came with Bryant holding the ball at the top of the key and making eye contact with Howard to signal an alley-oop lob was on its way, and the two executed the play to perfection. “We’re almost there,” Howard said. “We’re almost on the same page. I just tell Kobe, he’s always going to attack but always just attack the basket and I’ll try to clean up if you miss. We’re just learning each other’s game. It’s going to take some time but we’re doing the best we can.” Howard had the same amount of shots as Bryant (18) and it was the fourth time in the Lakers’ 10 games this season that he outscored Bryant, who happened to be the league’s leading scorer coming into Sunday. The Lakers’ are 3-1 in those games.
From Andy Kamenetzky, ESPN Los Angeles: Mike D’Antoni says he opted to delay his debut because of pain, fatigue and the adverse effects of medication. Personally, I think the guy’s scared to follow in Bernie Bickerstaff’s footsteps. And that fear ain’t subsiding any time soon, by the way. The man just boosted his franchise-best winning percentage to .800! The more he coaches, the more the Los Angeles Lakers win. At some point, Mike, you’re gonna have to stop ducking and hiding! Here are four takeaways from the Lakers’ 119-108 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
From Jill Painter, LA Daily News: Kobe Bryant is having some fun in the post-Mike Brown era. You don’t have to look at his face. Just look at those gaudy statistics. Bryant nearly had a triple-double by halftime against the Houston Rockets on Sunday at Staples Center. The shackles are off that clunky Princeton offense. Bryant and the Lakers are free, and they’ve responded by scoring in droves. Bryant had a triple-double – with 22 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds midway through the final quarter. The fun is back. The Lakers beat the Rockets 119-108. Defense is a problem for another day. This was Bryant’s day. It was the first time Bryant had a triple-double in a little more than two years. It was the 18th of his career, and none of those came during Brown’s tenure. “It’s cool. It’s not something I try to go after,” Bryant said. “It’s always cool when it happens.” He even remembered the previous one. “I think probably when Lamar (Odom) challenged me to get one, and I got one at halftime,” Bryant said about his last triple-double, which came Nov. 3, 2010, at Sacramento. This was supposed to be new Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni’s debut, but with D’Antoni still sidelined from knee surgery, this was another chance to check out the Lakers’ fun, fast, efficient offense.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register : In their first game after Mike D’Antoni got to town, the Lakers reached the 100-point plateau with 9:26 still left in the contest Friday night against Phoenix. In the follow-up Sunday night, the Lakers got there with 11:16 to play in their 119-108 victory over the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant looks for a shot between the Houston Rockets’ Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin during their game at Staples Center on Sunday. Just imagine all the garish point totals and lopsided victories once D’Antoni actually coaches a game. Or Steve Nash’s leg heals. Lakers fans certainly can start thinking about how good this will get with their team at 5-5 after starting 1-4 under Mike Brown.
From Mark Medina, LA Daily News : In a slick moment of time, Pau Gasol performed something so simple yet so magnificent. Kobe Bryant just threw him a dump pass at the top of the key, and the Lakers forward calmly sank the mid-range jumper. Soon after, Gasol pumped his fist in celebration. He just became the ninth foreign-born player to score 15,000 points. Moments after making that shot with 9:21 left in the third quarter, public address announcer Lawrence Tanter shared the news before an appreciative Staples Center crowd. “It’s something to be proud of and I’m happy be able to reach these milestones,” Gasol said after scoring 17 points on seven of 13 shooting in the the Lakers’ 119-108 victory Sunday over the Houston Rockets. “I want to continue to be as productive as I’ve been throughout my career. It feels good. It’s a good milestone to reach.” Gasol’s record setting tonight provided a visual reminder on how it’s dangerous of teams to discount his presence. Yes, Houston had to account for Kobe Bryant’s triple-double threat, Dwight Howard’s improved explosiveness, Metta World Peace’s surprisingly efficient shooting and even Darius Morris’ point-guard development. But just as he did in reaching the 15,000-point plateau, Gasol’s mid-range threat proves dividends.
From Mike Breshnahan, LA Times: Mike D’Antoni didn’t make his much-awaited Lakers debut. His offense, however, was there for all to see. The Lakers rolled to a 119-108 victory Sunday over the Houston Rockets, amassing stats that were part video game, part fantasy league, all entertainment. The Princeton offense couldn’t have seemed further in the past after the younger, less-refined cousin of Showtime stepped into Staples Center. The Lakers had 98 points after the third quarter, what would have been a giddily celebrated overall total for them just two weeks ago.