Three games in three nights. Everyone said it would be a tough test for an older team. Or, for an older team with a new head coach and staff, a shortened training camp and the loss of its 6th man of the year. Plus, new roster additions in the form of late second-round draft picks and journeymen role players. Not to mention torn wrist ligaments for the team’s superstar, and no Andrew Bynum due to suspension. Casual, right?
Christmas Day showed gutty if sloppy resolve. Monday was just a mess. Last night was the first “must-win” of the season and the Lakers came through with a blowout, a markedly sharper performance on a night when they should have been playing on dead legs. If there’s a singular storyline so far, it’s that we’re in wholly unfamiliar territory but we’ll gladly take our first win.
At ESPN’s Land O’Lakers, Brian Kamenetzky details five takeaways for last night’s game, including Pau Gasol’s best game of the still young season.
C.A. Clark at Silver Screen and Roll, points out the many ways things could have gone south for the Lakers, and how the basketball gods instead, frowned on the Jazz.
Chris Sheridan at Sheridan Hoops, writes about the calming breeze, now originating from Los Angeles.
Mike Bresnahan at the L.A. Times, logs the first Staples Center “we want World Peace!” chant.
Also at the Times, Mark Medina from the Lakers blog, points out Kobe’s balancing act – being aggressive at the basket and still getting teammates involved.
Kevin Ding of the OC Register relays Kobe’s assertion that they ‘shoulda won all three’ and that it’ll take some time to break themselves of Phil Jackson-engrained habits.
Over at ProBasketballTalk, Kurt Helin delves a bit deeper into the ‘shoulda’ assertion.
Three losses in a row would have brought out the sharp knives. Observers were beginning to gather and shuffle around before last night’s win. They’ll be tracking the new-look Lakers throughout the season, it’s the nature of the beast. Mike Brown’s candor and determination for accountability have served him well so far. Still, it’s about wins and expectations in Los Angeles and now the Lakers have to do it again against the Knicks, on Thursday night.
– Dave Murphy
According to Shaq himself, we have our own Big 3. And I couldn’t agree more!
“They have a legitimate big 3. A proven, big 3.”
Funky Chicken says
APB on Darius Morris.
Dave M says
@2 – hahaha!
Chris J says
Shaq’s correct. It’s just the 1 spot that still scares the crap out of me.
Artest has been a pleasant surprise with the second unit. He seems way more comfortable than he did in the triangle.
Hopefully Blake stays confident and resembles the guy everyone hoped they’d be getting when he signed in L.A.
LT Mitchell says
It’s still early, but after 3 games, I am convinced that this is the same Kobe from 2 years ago (possibly even 3 years ago). It took Amare a full year to regain his form after his knee surgery, and Kobe seems to be following the same path to recovery. The recovery time coupled with the plasma therapy has done wonders for his game.
Comparing Kobe to last season, he has a quicker first step, more lift, and improved lateral movement. Unlike last season, he’s aggressively taking the ball to the hole, and getting to the free throw line. Another positive sign is how fresh he looked playing the 3rd game in 3 nights.
There seems to be plenty of Laker fans questioning whether the offense should continue to go through Kobe this season. These doubts are mainly based on his age, and how old and slow Kobe looked last season, specifically against Dallas (when Kobe played with a high ankle sprain)….. but if Kobe has indeed recaptured his athleticism from 2 years ago, and continues to play at this level, than the Lakers’ best chance to contend this year is through Kobe. Kobe doubters have been eating crow for a while now, and last season was the first time in many years these doubters avoided their yearly serving of Kobe crow pie. Get ready for another serving this year, because the Black Mamba is back!
George Best says
Really surprised they beat Utah so easily. Its simply going to be an up and down season where they make the playoffs and hope that things come together unlike lets win 60 games and assume that absent an upset, we are in the finals.
The fans will deal with this inconsistency with moments of optimism and pessimism but well aware we need another superstar added to the team not only to be real championship contenders but to create a foundation that keeps us from regressing which is the current path we are on in light of the teams high standards and the unavoidable aging of our best player and one of best ever to play the game.
I’m loving the fact that Brown is publicly stating the ball is in Kobe’s hands too much. If Brown can succeed in having Kobe play off the ball a lot more it will bode well for Kobe and the team’s future.
That’s going to be something to watch closely in wins or losses. How is Kobe playing, what will Brown say and how will Kobe respond. Not just lip service, but how will his game change?
10 years with Phil is a lot of habits to break but for Kobe to age gracefully he will have to break some of those bad habits.
Phillip Barnett says
New post up: http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2011/12/28/busiest-player-in-the-nba-kobe-bryant/