Around The World (Wide Web): Turning Point for the Lakers ?

Ryan Cole —  January 28, 2013

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: When the Lakers’ offense would get in a rut, Phil Jackson would move Kobe Bryant from the wing to the backcourt in the triangle offense and essentially force Bryant to shift his mentality from pure scorer to team playmaker. Mike D’Antoni can do that, too. And he has.D’Antoni muttered a week ago: “The ball sticks, and we don’t take very good shots.” But with Bryant taking over much of the ball-handling duties from D’Antoni’s longtime and all-time great point guard Steve Nash, the Lakers have morphed the past two games into a cohesive, winning unit. Bryant posted 14 assists — one shy of his 17-year career high — for the second consecutive game in the Lakers’ best victory of the season Sunday: They downed Western Conference favorite Oklahoma City, 105-96. Asked if he was enjoying all the passing, Bryant said: “I enjoy winning.”

From The Sports Xchange, Yahoo Sports: Los Angeles Lakers backup point guard Steve Blake announced via Twitter that he expects to be back from an abdominal strain on Tuesday.Blake has been out with the injury since Nov. 11. The Lakers host the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday. “The #RoadtoRecovery was long, but I’m back for the @Lakers Tuesday night. #GoLakers,” he wrote on Saturday night. The injury required surgery. He also experienced pain in his groin that needed special plasma and cortisone shots to relieve the discomfort. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told ESPN Los Angeles that he expects Blake to return soon, but would not confirm that he would be ready by Tuesday.

From Melissa Rohlin, LA Times:  Metta World Peace sat by his locker, relishing the moment. “This is a beautiful situation to be in,” he said to a small group of reporters. “I want to sit here with you guys in June, just like this.” The Lakers, who entered Sunday’s game against Oklahoma City in 10th place in the Western Conference, had just beat the Thunder, 105-96. World Peace played a pivotal role in the win, with 15 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Not that he wanted much credit.  “It’s a team game; it’s real simple,” he said, before turning on the journalists around him. “You guys are selfish,” World Peace said. “You media guys are one-on-one because you’re going against each other. You guys are selfish, like you’re trying to go against him, trying to get the best story. You’re elbowing him, trying to tie him up. You’re hiring hit men and stuff and trying to take out other media people. You all are selfish. You’re not on the same team. We’re a team.”

From Sam Amick, USA Today: His Los Angeles Lakers, mired all season long in the sort of slump that no one saw coming, logged their best win yet Sunday by beating an Oklahoma City Thunder team that so many consider the best in the NBA. And Kobe Bryant didn’t mince his words. “It feels good to finally beat a team that’s worth a (expletive),” he said after the 105-96 victory in which he posted 21 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds while shooting 8-for-12 from the field. Bryant, whose greatness is indisputable but who is one of the most ball-dominant players in the history of the game, has turned into a Steve Nash clone in the past two games.

From J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: Watching the Los Angeles Lakers beat down the Utah Jazz on Friday and take down the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday is enough to make me believe a deal has been struck: The Laker community will be confrontational — the way Kobe Bryant likes it — and in return Bryant will share the ball the way everyone else has wanted. So there was Bryant, snapping at Steve Nash for passing up a shot Friday night. Or Kobe with a look of disgust on his face when Metta World Peace was clogging his path by posting up on the right block Sunday afternoon. You know what else happened on a regular basis this weekend? Kobe Bryant dishing out 14 assists per game as if he were gunning for John Stockton’s record, not Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring crown. There wasn’t a contract drawn up by lawyers for everyone to sign. Not even so much as a handshake deal. But everyone seems to be happier after the Lakers’ proved able to, in Bryant’s uncouth terms, “finally beat a team that’s worth a s—” with a 105-96 victory over the Thunder.

Ryan Cole

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10 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Turning Point for the Lakers ?

  1. Well whaddya know….KB24 shot attempts < 20 times 2 = Lakers win twice in a row! He finally figured it out or brokered it as Adande would have you believe. Regardless, 14 assists equals 28 from teammates, plus his individual 21 points counts as 49 on the scoreboard. I'll take that way more than him shooting 25 plus times at a 45%, even 48% clip and having 4 teammates on the floor seemingly watching or struggling to find a rhythm within a virtuoso….

  2. It drives me crazy when fans say, “See, if Kobe just passes then we win, it’s that easy.” Yeah, a five time champion and certain Hall of Famer like Kobe doesn’t really understand what it takes to win, but couch sitting fans certainly do. It’s ridiculous.

    What’s the truth then? Well it’s a mish mash of truths, really. On the one hand, yes, Kobe needs to be a willing passer and he needs to trust his teammates. On the other hand, his teammates need to take some responsibility and A) move, cut, and get open off the ball when Kobe has the rock and is working, B) be READY to catch a pass from him, instead of fumble it way, C) be ready to make something happen when Kobe hits them with a pass, D) actually make some shots.

    There’s always been a chicken and the egg argument with Kobe. Does he not pass much and then his mates stop moving and stop being engaged or does Kobe stop passing once he sees that his guys aren’t cutting hard and making shots? The one thing we KNOW about Kobe is that he wants to win at all costs and will do whatever he thinks he has to do to win. If it was a simple as pass more often, then he’d do that every single game. It’s not that simple.

    Fans should take a more nuanced view.

  3. I know it’s still early, but to anyone who said Kobe shouldn’t have to adjust his game at this point in his career… Take that.

  4. well, it is a new look, and we have been missing someone who, like Magic used to do all the time, make the other players around him better… I thought it would be Nash, but if it is Kobe this is actually great.
    who better that Nash for the pure shooter guard who can also take you off the dribble?
    now Howard’s gotta find his rhythm, then we do really have something.

    can kobe maintain this pace, we’ll see.

    the good news is – make the playoffs in 8th seed, play the #1 seed and if you knock them off, then you’ve now got the #1 seed road to the finals… hehehe
    do you think they planned it this way??

  5. now the lakers are making some noise…go lakers!!!

  6. The Lakers showed they can play together vs. the thunder. It also helped that they stepped up their D (and the fact that Russell Westbrook had a terrible shooting night). It’s not like the Lakers DO NOT have the talent. Better coaching can get them to where they need to go.
    http://wp.me/1gCK6

  7. Great game y’day. Now the team has to build on that, get to .500 and go from there.

    Just once I would love to hear Dwight admit that he gets a little nervous when he shoots foul shots. He has decent form and touch. It’s in his head. Dwight would do himself a favor by admitting that and then perhaps the healing process would start.

  8. Last season, Mike Brown stated that it was HIS call to have Kobe carry the load on offense with his scoring because the team did not have enough practice time to implement his offense in a shortened season. Kobe was not being “selfish” as many haters believe, he was simply following the game plan.

    Coming into this season, it was established that Nash would be the playmaker and Kobe would be the scorer. Kobe did his part by scoring as efficiently as he ever has. Unfortunately, it’s become increasingly clear that Nash is not able to take his man one on one. He needs a pick to get free, but teams have been trapping him when he initiates the high P&R. That’s one of the main reasons why the highly anticipated Dwight/Nash P&R has been an utter flop.

    Kobe solved this problem by taking it upon himself to be the initiator of the offense. When will people realize that Kobe just wants to win by any means necessary?

    Defend speedy PGs in his 17th season? Check
    Play PG on offense? Check
    Ignore D’Antoni’s offense by slowing the pace down and playing trough the post…basically becoming a player/coach? Check

    Don’t be surprised if he starts taking over GM duties and selling hot dogs at Staples.

  9. anybody notice stan van gundy putting dwight on blast?