Lakers vs. Hawks: Kobe Does it Again

Darius Soriano —  March 3, 2013

This game wasn’t the most beautiful thing to watch. The Lakers committed too many turnovers, had too many defensive lapses, and had too many offensive possessions that stalled out due to lack of ball movement. But the Lakers still found a way to win 99-98 and get back to .500 for the first time since 3 days after Christmas.

And it was mostly on the strength of Kobe Bryant’s ability to make some big plays down the stretch. The dunk above is the most obvious example, of course. Kobe obliterated Josh Smith on that amazing finish at the rim, but also had the game winning shot and two huge free throws on the Lakers final two offensive possessions that were the difference in this tightly contested game.

So, while there is plenty to dissect about this contest and much more the Lakers won’t be happy about when they review the film, a win is a win and the closing moments of this particular one were memorable. Focus on that and have a good night, folks. We’ll have more on this one tomorrow.

Darius Soriano

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17 responses to Lakers vs. Hawks: Kobe Does it Again

  1. Think back to what you were doing in fall 1996/spring 1997… Depending upon your age, you may have hit many of life’s milestones — graduations, weddings, births, deaths of loved ones, trips far and near, jobs and better jobs, moves, etc.

    And for every point in time since then while basketball has been played, Kobe Bryant has been exciting those who appreciate the game. It’s crazy to think back on how far we’ve all come since that bald-headed swaggering kid fell into our collective conscience out of suburban Philadelphia, way back when…

  2. Games like this make me shudder to think what post phil, post jerry, post kobe lakers will look like.

  3. For all those that say Kobe is “old” I beg you to give me 1 player (not top 10 League scorers) who is younger you’d trade him for. Don’t consider what either gets paid. Just tell me WHAT younger player would you prefer? Lets say for a four year deal would you give Kobe up?

    I dare you. If you can’t statistically back an answer up then I think it’s time to stop hating on the Mamba but instead Marvel while you can.

    You’re witnessing GREATNESS!

  4. D’Antoni made a very good decision to bring back Kobe early in the 4th quarter forgoing his normal rest rest when the Hawks made an early 4th quarter run. Kobe was great tonight willing the Lakers to a win

  5. Atlanta players had a lot if praise for Bryant. Smith called him an ASSASSIN!!

    Horford said, “that’s why he’s the greatest player in the game.”

    Kobe certainly is showing Howard just whatit takes to be the LEADER of the LAKERS.

    Champions always fight, never give-in, & never ever, ever ever stop Believing!

    All the way to the finals

  6. This game brought back such good memories of young kobe. It seemed like he could drop 30-40 points every game. Wow kobe flew and dunked on josh smith. 17 years in the league and still got hops.

  7. I really want Kobe to get that 6th ring that he soooo much wants and deserves, before he retires.

  8. liked the clutch play by Kobe, but the game was a bit disconcerting…while Atlanta has played quite well this last month or so, and seem to have a decent core, it would have been good to see the Lakers beat a good team at home a bit more convincingly. A lot had to do with the bench play tonight as the starters plus/minus were mostly very good, but Harris and Corver just torched the bench, and there wasn’t much push back from the bench on the offensive side. Not sure what to make of it. Hopefully, it was just an off night for the bench, and hopefully it has something to do with a better ish defensive team colliding with a “reversion to the mean” day for the bench guys. Those who have not looked shoud review the final +/-, as it is pretty revealing/dramatic.

  9. Harvey,

    Well thought-out post, but the Lakers just aren’t that good. Since the ASB, they have needed huge games from Kobe to eke out Ws over Portland, Dallas, and now Atlanta. The Boston win was solid, but prior to that they struggled at home against Phoenix and got down 20 on the road before coming back to beat Charlotte. Minnesota was playing without half its roster and is 4-21 over their last 25.

    You mentioned reversion by the bench–that is part of what is happening with the Lakers. Limitations and all, they are better than 17-25, and their record has caught up to their point diff.

    The main issue remains the defense–guys like Harris and Korver going off is just another example, and Horford had 24. Atlanta shot 50% from the floor.

  10. That KOBE 3 point buzzer beater at the end came in very handy for a onepoint win

  11. Rr….
    You make a good point. We’d shouldn’t be surprised when the Lakers struggle to win . This is not a juggernaut… It is a flawed team that is missing some vital components in Hill and Gasol.

  12. was it just me? or did Dwight mishandle about a hundred passes? plus he missed a lot of chippies down low. I will say he seemed to have a ton of rebounds, (and some good blocks), but I can see why Kobe sometimes doesn’t want to toss it in to him when he’s got good position, he fumbles a lot of passes. Seems to be a lack of focus to me.

  13. The dunk over a leaper like Josh Smith and then the body control and shot making over Smith again for the winning bucket were simply amazing. Those two plays exhibited the same type of explosion and athleticism we saw from Kobe in his prime. This player is a joy to watch! We excuse the few glitches in his game because moments like these far outweigh his on court miscues.

  14. rr,

    yup..The team exactly as it is right now, is not that great and reliant on superior efforts from mostly kobe and potentially some others from time to time. But even at that level they seem to be kind of top 10 ish, and potentially capable of sqweaking out a fair number of games. I just don’t think anyone can be sure what they are when Dwight is 100%, they have had a whole training camp and Pau and Jordan Hill are back (or them or someone else have been traded for assets).

    The thing is the PNR is kind of half there now after being nowhere for most of the season. If there is a decent PNR game, this would require a lot less of Kobe, and this team, exactly as it is, goes from 8th offensive efficiency to around 3rd or 4th, or something like that (even without roster moves to improve the 3 point shooting). And until (or if) the PNR game becomes more solid there is more to this team, and this isn’t just lets see if Kobe can pull this out on his own, down the stretch. Right now, its clear to me that they are still hesitant to run it, especially against good defensive teams and especially in the 4th quarter. And with no PNR Nash goes from dangerous to average ish (and Dwight goes from great to above average, on the offensive side). Defensively, yes its still a bit of a work in progress, but would be better with a bit more time and a return to health from Pau and Jordan Hill.

    So while I agree on where they are at exactly this moment, where they might be, even without roster moves after either Dwight just heals up, or after a summer of Dwight rehabilitation and a proper training camp is still a question, at least to me. I am speculating (hoping??) that a fully healthy team is around a 50 plus win team that is more dangerous in the playoffs, and that some roster moves are required to get them further than that. A lot still depends on Dwight and how much more there is in that tank.

  15. Never thought I would be so happy to see the Lakers reach .500. Gave up the big lead, but held on for the win. Rockets, Jazz, & Warriors definitely hearing footsteps. Jazz & Warriors play tonight. Next up for our Lakers…The Thunder.

  16. Most should know that I feel that a greater % of our issues are chemistry, coaching, and attitude related. Not that roster does not play a role. But it is not ALL roster : ) That said, lets forget that for a moment. For those who feel it is roster related, time is not going to cure this. Quite the contrary. For 13-14, let’s optimistically project that Hill, Gasol, and DH regain their pre-injury forms. The roster theory is largely contingent on the fact that Pau, Kobe, Nash, and MWP getting older is a large part of our woes (along with the injuries). Well, next year we are all a year older, so where does this leave the roster? The core will be the same at best unless we pull a miracle trade. We can’t sign FAs and we will need to pay up just to retain EC. This was a two year gamble to win a title, and if the conclusion is that the roster is over-rated, then next year is somewhat of a bust. Now before calling me a pessimist, don’t, because it is quite the contrary. I feel that we have a great roster (not as good as I did pre-season – but still great) that has been under achieving, and recently has shown signs of life. With this as a back drop, we “could” go on a run this year or next. That is my pipedream. I don’t envy the people who believe the roster theory, because when I look a that as a backdrop, I would be forced to project mediocrity at best through 14 followed by a complete revamp. I will stick to my fantasy world where last summer we put together a dream team : )

  17. 1 game at a time;)