Lakers/Hornets: Kobe Gets to 30K, Lakers Win

Darius Soriano —  December 5, 2012

The Lakers got their 9th win of the season against the Hornets by the count 103-87, showing both the Jekyll and Hyde nature of their play so far this season.

In the first half they had trouble defending the Hornets’ pick and roll attack, surrendering open shots at the rim by not helping the helper and ceding open jumpers on the wing on late rotations. On offense they ran a clunky, isolation heavy attack that left them seeking out good shots that came few and far between. The result was a 2 point deficit after 24 minutes born of lackluster play that looked all too familiar.

In the 2nd half, that all changed. On defense, the rotations were more crisp. Back side wings dug down on the roll man and disrupted passes into the paint. The open jumpers that were so prevalent in the first half mostly dried up as well. Defenders were much more engaged all over the floor, talking and active. Dwight Howard took command in the third quarter, controlling the paint on both sides of the floor. The ball moved on offense, shots started to fall, and what was a deficit quickly became a lead that would not be relinquished (in fact, it was barely threatened).

And so, the Lakers won a game they sorely needed. It was a game they should have won, but in a season where nothing has been certain (save for uncertainty), every win is a good one.

But, in a departure from looking at all that went right and wrong in this game, I turn my focus to Kobe Bryant. So excuse me for the fawning that will proceed…

Tonight Kobe Bryant joined an elite club. The number of people who have scored 30,000 points in their NBA career(s), before tonight, totaled four. They are the names of players who only need be identified by a single moniker. Kareem, Jordan, Wilt, The Mailman. These are the faces that have sat on the Mt. Rushmore of scorers in league history. Against the Hornets — the team that drafted him — Kobe joined these men on that mountain.

The points came on a play we’ve seen Kobe make hundreds of times before. After catching the ball on the right wing, he drove past a closing out defender, slithered into the lane, elevated over the help defender, and flicked in a one handed runner while fading to his left. It showed off his body control, his touch around the rim, and the scoring instinct that got him to this point. It was, in many ways, the quintessential Kobe bucket. Not too flashy, but enough of a wow play that makes you want to watch it again.

In between that shot and the the first one he made so many years ago, we’ve seen countless others. So many, in fact, they blur together. The baseline fade away. The pull up at the elbow. The heat check three pointer. The reverse lay in. The thunderous dunk. Through all the makes we’ve marveled at the focus, the footwork, the innovation, the creativity, and the desire. Especially the desire.

Seventeen years ago the Lakers acquired Kobe, a high school guard who had as much talent as moxie. He talked of “taking his talents” to the NBA and the challenge of playing the game at the highest level. In the years since, he’s been humbled plenty and reached the mountain top as an individual and as part of a team. The MVP’s (league and Finals), the championships, the all-star games, the franchise records, and all-NBA nods speak to his greatness.

And, through it all, he’s done it his way. For better and, at times, for worse. Playing his game has left him with as many detractors as he has staunch supporters. It’s also left him with almost universal respect. He’s as hardworking as he is relentless. As unforgiving a competitor as he is driven to improve. For all intents and purposes, he’s a player that’s made himself great as much as he’s had greatness bestowed upon him through his 6 foot, 6 inch frame and the NBA pedigree.

He has been, and continues to be, one of a kind. And he’s still going. Congratulations, Kobe Bean. If they’d told me 17 years ago he’d be this great, I wouldn’t have believed them. Which is probably one of the reasons he’s this great to begin with.

Darius Soriano

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45 responses to Lakers/Hornets: Kobe Gets to 30K, Lakers Win

  1. I’m glad someone has finally stood up to Kobe about his matador defense. It’s been quite a few years, but we haven’t had another true alpha since Shaq and so Odom/Gasol/Bynum/etc. have had no choice but to let the issue slip.

    Dwight’s gotta be careful though; Kobe’s desire for another championship dictates that he’ll let a few things go (this one time) but Howard can’t be going overboard criticizing Kobe as there’s still the matter of his ego…

    Also lil Pau – good call on the Warren shout out; we could use a few more of those for the next couple of games.

  2. Darius that was quite the write up.

    Very impressive.

  3. Please don’t forget Julius Erving.

    His professional point total (including NBA and ABA): 30,026.

  4. You are one of the best writers when it comes to Kobe. The word “hate” gets thrown around a lot but I feel like a lot of bloggers don’t appreciate Kobe enough, sometimes. You’re objective with him but also defend him a lot. Great writing.

  5. Tim A,
    Yes. Dr. J was fantastic. I did only focus on the NBA career points list, however. If I would have expanded it to NBA/ABA careers, I would have certainly included Erving.

  6. Congrats to Kobe. I hope he can at least get to third. No one is catching Cap or even Malone. But Kobe can catch Jordan. Malone wore the Lakers uniform, but he wasn’t a Laker for most of his career. But Kareem and Kobe bleed purple and gold. Seeing them as #1 and #3 would be special.

  7. Congratz to the Mamba. To think I was upset to hear we traded the original D12 (Divac) for some high school kid. Further validates the genius of Jerry West.

  8. We’ll see how far he decides to climb the ladder because we all know by now, with Kobe it’s a matter of his will rather than him fading into the sunset. He’ll be a reliable scorer for at least as long as Jordan was, and perhaps even longer.

  9. I wonder how Abbot feels about this?

    Nah forget that guy.

  10. Abbott did a TH TV segment on 30k, which a friend sent me as a joke. It was subtly disrespectful, and passive-aggressive–IOW, it was Abbott.

    30K is quite an achievement.

    NO played this game without Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis.

  11. Congrats mamba! Way to go lakers wait till Nash and Paul are 100% ready to rumble…go lakers!!!

  12. Lakers MUST win Friday. I stated on here and on Laker Line they would be 10 and 10 after 20 games in response to M. Thompson(laker radio and ESPN announcer) who predicted 17 and 3,

    Media is seldom correct.

  13. I certainly appreciate the many great moments and thrills Kobe has given the game of basketball in the past 17 years. And I know that he’s not through yet.

    I find it very telling that on a night when the Lakers win the comments here don’t approach the same numbers as after a loss. I guess some folks would rather complain about the team’s shortcomings than give them credit for a good, winning effort.

    The most encouraging sign that I see from the Lakers lately is that their bench players are developing a hunger to contribute. That group’s input will be important to overall team success.

  14. No question about it. Always easy to find faults than giving praises. Especially on this team that was shot with sky-high expectations after the blockbuster trades, was projected to win 60+ games and then went on to lose all pre-season games and went 1-4 before switching coaches and now just a mediocre 9-10. A win against a starless Hornets team make little to no statement. Not after a horrible loss the prior day. A OKC win(or close game) on Friday however will definitely shut some people up and looking forward.

    The team is slowly finding their own identity though and players figuring their own roles. They just need more time and Mike D too… Still can’t believe Jamison was only getting those measly 4-5 points under Mike Brown. The dude can score.

  15. I’m so sick and tired of reading about people wanting to trade Pau. :/

  16. Darius- Great writeup. Thanks for all the hard work.

    It’s regrettable that some of the comments on this particular thread are about the win tonight. I’m very happy our guys got a W tonight but I’m more thrilled to take a beat and revel in the insane glory that we all have had the pleasure to witness in Kobe’s almost 17 years as a Laker. I may not speak for every Lakers fan but I’m sure Kobe is saying to all his detractors tonight, “You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone…” All I want to say, just for tonight, is thanks, Kobe, for every moment so far and hopefully you create a few more this year and beyond.

  17. On paper this team may have been seen as built to win it all, now, as currently constructed. But, team chemistry takes time to develop, PJ’s teams had that from year to year pretty much, at least those Championship seasons. I am sure this Lakers squad will get better, and better, as time goes on, but at the moment they do not look like a Championship team that will go all the way. Don’t get me wrong here, I want the parade going down Figueroa this June, if possible. Kobe is a great NBA player, and he deserved the milestone that he reached tonight.

  18. nice win, a great achievement by one of the greatest basketball player of all time Kobe for the 30,000pts plateau. hopefully, this game will serve as a starting win for the lakers…

  19. When Kobe entered the League I told my brother there goes the real next MJ, and he laughed at me. The Kid is special. There isn’t a harder worker in the history of the NBA, he deserves all the accolades.

  20. Finally, another road win. Very rare indeed this season. Kobe scored 29 last night in a win. Lakers are now 9-10. 3-9 when Kobe scores 25 or more, 6-1 when he scores less than 25. Up next for Kobe, Dr. J (next game, only 13 points) and at his current rate of scoring, Wilt in less than 50 games.

  21. From a coaching perspective, this may be the first win that revealed a sharp uptake in Mike D’s learning curve. It wasn’t Showtime, but it wasn’t “slowtime” either.

    Strategically, Mike was able to keep focus when things weren’t going well, then use defense to inspire offense in the second half. As the margin grew, Mike was able to successfully sub in nearly all the support players off the bench–limiting the PT minutes of Kobe, MWP, and Dwight. Duhon provided further evidence that he could do an adequate job backing up Steve Nash when Steve returns, and Jordon Hill showed why it will be impossible to keep him on the bench for the rest of the season. Meeks and Jamison both played about the right number of minutes–and the right roles.. Morris, Ebanks and Clark all showed signs that they could be called upon to perform when needed in specialized roles. One could even imagine short spurts from a greyhound youth brigade of Morris, Meeks, Ebanks, Clark, and Hill that could do justice to D’Antonio’s wildest Showtime fantasies–against even the fastest and the youngest opponents

    Unlike previous blowouts, this win was no anomoly: it was a much needed template for a balanced future, with no pressing need to trade anyone. The future Pelicans were without Davis and Gordon–and the Lakers were without Nash and Gasol. It was a much needed road victory–and more.

  22. Praise be to the b.ball dieties for bestowing the Black Mamba upon our Purple&Gold!
    Heck of a 3rd Q last night; defense wins championships!
    OKC´s going down mañana! (please repeat till 4thQ buzzer sounds!) :-D

  23. I so agree with Kenny T – So many less comments after a milestone and a win. I was very impressed with the Lakers ability to adjust after a terrible half. The bench does have potential and finally creds to AJ. He’s showing signs of the player who I thought could make the difference this season. Consistent DDs from him would be fantastic. As for Kobe, what strikes me is how well he is playing this season, and still goin’ strong.

  24. Nice write-up Darius thanks and congrats to Kobe.

  25. Sorry Magic….

    Kobe = The G.L.O.A.T. (Greatest Laker of All-time)

  26. Lil Pau and Simonoid: a little remembering is good enough. Thanks.

    Pau Gasol supposedly inquired of?

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/8719587/los-angeles-lakers-rebuffing-trade-inquiries-pau-gasol

    If such is remotely true, it fits the mold of what I feel would be Pau Gasol’s equal maximum value. Whether you look at this as a good move or not, its considered to be Pau’s going rate.

    I know alot of my friends here are defense-first advocates. The most-recent MDA-over-Phil hiring must’ve been such a disappointment. On many levels, I feel this is 2007 once more where Drrayeye and I nearly predicted the exact details of the deal that we made w/ MEM. 3 Finals trips, 2 championships, 2 2nd round exits later, and here we are once more.

    2012 was a weird season to say the least. Everyone was out of shape, out of form and even the Lakers were out of identity. I admired the Mike Brown hire, I admired his fire even more. Simply because I am someone who does not deny making a mistake, instead I live with them and well, work around them. MB was a good hire, he was an even better fire. Phil Jackson was only in the discussion because we had such a superstar team and its to no disrespect to him that MDA was hired instead.

    Speaking of MDA, getting him to agree was the last of your worries. A good friend in twitter keeps on harping that he won’t be available for such due to the knee replacement surgery he had just couple of weeks prior. That sure didn’t stop him from getting back to his feet (pun intended) quicker than usual. At the expense of Phil? Not really, but I know MDA has a little giggle inside him.

    If living with mistakes and not being afraid to correct them seems to be the mantra, then we should, by all intents and purposes, live with this decision we’ve made. The decision to trade Odom/Gasol for Cp3 that failed, the Odom-to-Dallas for nothing, the deal that sent Bynum and change for Dwight Howard despite a back injury, the Steve Nash signing thanks to the Odom TPE, etc… all these things we’ve already done, they are purposefully done so with the intent of building a team thats considerably quicker, more offense-oriented and away from the previous identity that the greatest head coach in pro-sports has built.

    If living with these so-called mistakes is the mantra, then its time we trade Pau Gasol all-be-damned. Just like Kobe, it would tear my heart out coz you will see no bigger fan of Pau than I am. Matter of fact, I feel a certain entitlement to call Pau Gasol my “idea” and my lovechild, if you may. But its time to set him free, and let him flourish elsewhere.

    Marc Stein is just another dreamer like me. He just gets paid to come up with these scenarios and for some reason, they are more legal than when I do them. But such is not about Marc Stein and me, this is about the sense that he had in making those 2 scenarios. Sad to tell you that in this case, his 1st option seems to be the best route and that is the only way you can fully say you are committed to Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Mike D’Antoni and of course, giving Kobe Bryant that 6th (possibly more) championship.

    PS. Congrats Kobe. 33K should be plenty enough.

  27. Kenny T and Ethan,
    It is very telling isn’t it… Great achievement by Kobe last night. I think that currently only Lebron and KD have a chance at matching it. These guys will have to bear up under the test of father time in order to get there. That’s one of the most amazing things about the guys on this small list. Kareem, Malone, Wilt, Jordan, Kobe. These guys were great for so many years. Can Lebron hold on to his athleticism long enough to get there? Can KD’s slight frame hold up long enough? More importantly- Will these two stay focused long enough to get to that plateau? Will they continue work on their games as all of these guys did?

  28. Kobe 30k!

    JayZ: Yes – GLOAT. Let’s keep working on dropping the L.

    KB Shot Attempts and Points W/L Stats: This stat is somewhat of a self fulfilling prophecy. If we win big and Kobe is sitting in Q4 – points/shots are down. If we struggle first half and KB has to go into Mamba mode, then his shots and points are up.

    Friday: Huge for momentum reasons. The travel/game schedule gets brutal. The easiest game is the Wizards, which is the second game of a road back to back.

  29. Interesting article re the shots Kobe takes on Grantland – http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8719297/how-kobe-bryant-missed-shots-translate-new-nba-statistic-kobe-assist

    Well worth your time.

  30. The joys of having a lot of bandwagon fans. I think everyone is seeing that there is some good pieces here – just that this team will be better as a whole than just individuals. Good to hear Howard held Kobe accountable. Howard being that good on D allows for them to be equals, so there won’t be hurt feelings when they need to keep each other on the same page. Kobe has to defer to howard on defense, and respects nash on offense which brings balance to the force – and quite frankly makes the game so much easier for Bryant knowing that he doesn’t have to do everything for this team. Once Howard and Nash are both healthy – they’ll have the two best quarterbacks to run both sides of the ball. Until then this team will have to suffer with some inconsistency and growing pains.

    That said, good to see a nice distribution of minutes. Great game from Duhon – 10 assists and no turnovers. He may not be a great lead guard but you can’t ask for more. Helps lots that he’s played for D’antoni before. Betting he will see majority of starters minutes until nash gets back. You can bet he took it personally all the reports about the lakers needing yet a fifth pg because him and morris couldn’t handle things.

  31. So who should be the main backup to Nash when he comes back? I want Blake to get a chance but history shows he always plays horrible after an injury. And congrats Kobe on 30k points. I didn’t get a chance to see Magic play so its an honor to see such a great player wearing that purp and gold uniform.

  32. Jerke: You have made several references to the term bandwagon and similar. You are correct that the Lakers have lots of bandwagon fans. They are generally not on here though. Well they might be, but only during champion runs. The people who are posting during this dismal season are hard core fans, not bandwagoners. Now, if you are referring to the inconsistency in posts, yes – that is present. We win – people start predicting titles. We lose – people start saying we are not making the playoffs. That is for sure true,and especially appears in game threads. Some of us do not do this, and we are so redundant with our posts that people like rr need to point out that we have made the same point time after time. To illustrate.
    rr: Last night’s was a good game. Seven or eight more in a row like that and MD is out of the dog house : )

  33. @gary – I think they all get mins depending on situation. Blake plays off the ball ala dfish when they want him spotting up off of howard or kobe drive and kickouts. Duhon plays when you need someone to run sets steadily – and Morris will get some mins when they need a guard to pressure the ball handler especially at the endof the first 3 q’s but don’t need an offensive threat. Nash will get 25-35 depending on game, 10-20 for Blake/Duhon, 2-10 for Duhon/Morris.

    That being said – one of Blake/Duhon is likely to be shipped if Mitch deems necessary to shore up another weakness or include w Pau.

  34. @robert – lol point well taken. I shouldve said bi-polar instead of bandwagon;) There is just no way to judge this team good or bad until all the pieces are in play – and unfortunately the injury bug struck early. Hopefully that gets it out of the way for the rest of the season.

  35. Jerke: Yes – we are all looking forward to the Nash return and full implementation of the MD system to see what we have. You have stayed more optimistic than most of us : )

  36. Lol robert – I suffered thru multiple years of bad luck and heart break cheering nash on in phoe so some early season struggles here sorta pale in comparison and I’m prepared to take the long view. I played in the same divison at the same time as Nash growing up in BC, so would just like to see him at least get a chance to play in the finals – he’s sorta the guy that made it for all of us ya know what I mean.

  37. darius: right now the pundits on espn (because it’s their jobs i suppose) are trying to compare apples to oranges to grapes to walnuts to peas and carrots as to who is the goat nba player and who is the goat laker player. to be fair and what should be obvious and often overlooked, based on position played, the true comparison should to michael jordan. jerry west once said, kobe bryant will never be michael jordan; he will be kobe bryant. was not meant to be a slight, was just stating a fact. people like to read too much into things said, correct? kobe’s done the math, great accomplishment !

    despite missing parts for both teams, was a step in the right direction last night in new orleans for the lakers. several players on the laker team had a chance to shine. based on upcoming games to be played and team match ups, can be considered a blueprint for things to come for what coach d is trying to do with this team he’s spearheading. on to okc , more blueprinting needed and points to be padded to that thirty thousand plus for our kobe bryant.

    Go Lakers

  38. I find it very telling that on a night when the Lakers win the comments here don’t approach the same numbers as after a loss

    Part of the function of a site like this is that people can come here to vent with other fans when things are going badly. That can be annoying, and I know it is not really how Darius and Co see the site, but I think it is useful to have that outlet *as long as people stay within the FBG guidelines*. Robert is good about reminding us that while we may disagree and annoy each other, we all do want the Lakers to win, and therefore all of us are bothered when they lose.

    As to this game and the comments, I think it is worth noting that NO is not that good to begin with and was playing without Davis and Gordon, who are as important to them as Pau and Nash are to the Lakers. I am glad they won and that Kobe hit another milestone, but big-picture, the Lakers have all the same problems they had 24 hours ago–and OKC on the road is next up.

  39. Adrian-
    Thanks for that link. That was a very good article! I made that argument on this board to Aaron last year. (Minus the incredible statistics.)

    It’s quite interesting that the Lakers have been getting offers for Pau. I’m very curious as to who the two teams were offering. I tend to agree with Mitch and the FO on this. Regardless of whether Nash was promised time to play with Gasol, we *should* see how these guys play together before making the change. I’m still holding out hope that Nash will solve Pau’s issues on offense.
    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/12/06/report-lakers-shoot-down-trade-talks-for-gasol-from-raptors-timberwolves/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    *edit* It looks like my question about who is involved in the trade talks was answered in Ramona Shelbourne’s article. Sorry!

  40. rr,

    Of course, we are still die hard Laker fans even if our posts are negative, in fact there is a realism into those negative perceptions by exhibiting emotions of restlessness reminding the people responsible that they should do something about it. We cannot be homers always even to our problematic kids, you have to say something that could be construed negative as an expression of love and care. One thing is ignored that because of those negative analysis whether it is coming from James Worthy, Stu Lantz or a guest analyst, an ESPN columnist, from Coach Miller or Charles Barkley – there is truth on what they are saying. Some players overcome their problems because of these scoldings and sermons.

    Kobe got to 30K mark but the feelings are somewhat subdued after those unwarranted losses that could have been a series of W’s. Anyway, congratulations for getting to momentous achievement perhaps another win in OKC would bring back joy and uplift morale to everyone.

  41. I wonder about the offers for Pau. Is just curious inquiry on the part of other teams? Have other teams proposed actual deals? Or are the Lakers trying to create a market for Gasol by saying teams are interested? Maybe they are trying to light a spark under Pau by saying, “we can trade today if we wanted. But we want to give you one more chance.” Who knows.

    I’ve learned never to take trade rumors at face value.

  42. @T – legit expressions of interest were made by two teams, but no formal offers were broached apparently

  43. I wanted to drag a few points from the previous points on over here, but first, congratulations to Kobe. I too remember Chick just gushing over young Kobe in his first season and all that potential. I remember seeing his hard work pay off in his All-Star recognition in season two, where he started though he came off the bench for the Lakers. I remember him soaking up all that on court knowledge from the greats on their tail end. Then came the chips, 81-points, weeks on end of 40-pt games, 63 in 3. 12 3PT in a game. Topping the Kobe Stopper. The cross-over that worked like the rip chord on a parachute worn by the opposition. Gravity taking Kobe to the hole. It’s been fun and I can’t believe we are still on the ride with him.

    As for Dwight and his blocking shots out of bounds. Okay, he is not a smart player and relies on his athleticism? Really? Is that why he is so patient and while the rest of his much smarter teammates are biting on pump-fakes and misdirection, Dwight stays down waiting for the ball to get exposed? How about the fact that he quarterbacks the defense? Have you noticed that he is telling his teammates how to position themselves on D and that these adjustments tend to effect the game in the Lakers’ favor? Dwight knows how to position himself and his teammates, has begun to familiarize himself with their ability and is fusing has changing abilities into the scheme of the defense with new coaches and new principles then what the team had started with. Unlike Bynum, he is a dependable performer whose impact is growing rather then peaking and valleying all on the grinding ball bearings that are his wrecked knees.

    I’m really not sure how much intelligence it takes to realize that tapping the ball to your teammate, or plucking it out of the air is a better play then just knocking it out of bounds. There are plenty of other more nuanced actions that Dwight takes on a regular basis that should lend themselves to our understanding that he is not a stupid basketball player. He lacks certain skills but he is an excellent defensive player who uses his athleticism after his mind has smartly positioned him to do so.

    Any other thoughts on why Dwight swats balls out of bounds?

    I think the points about preconceived system vs. finding systems to fit players are warranted. I think the adjustments made to plays under D’Antoni, comparing his offense to when Amare was the center vs Diaw or Thomas, is more then just stop running lobs on the P&R, or pick and pop some more with the 4 or 5. They ran the system differently with one example being Diaw was given more playmaking responsibility then STAT ever was. Diaw’s playmaking came from the post and while that doesn’t change the system, it does adapt it to the talent. I guess i give D’Antoni more credit then others and either way, these are just views of him from a rather large distance.

    I’m still of the mind that MD’A is still learning his team, working out lineups, maybe showcasing some guys and meanwhile trying to develop the chemistry it will take to go far into the playoffs. There is still so much potential to tap. Give it time.

  44. ” If they’d told me 17 years ago he’d be this great, I wouldn’t have believed them. ”

    Sums it up for me. I wasn’t big on Kobe for a long time and it’s hard to say exactly when I started appreciating that he was a rare-level player versus an all star. One thing I universally appreciate are those who maximize their innate talent via hard work. Congratulations Kobe. Now continue on the path of getting that 6th.

  45. Kobe’s the youngest player to get to 30,000 points and the smallest as well.

    Consider he’s likely to end his career at # 3 behind KAJ and Malone.

    In the company of giants, indeed.