The Lake show put their foot down yesterday and showed the West why they are the best. All year there has been talk that the Lakers got their Western Conference leading record from feasting on the lesser teams. And this point appeared valid as the Lakers had an under 500 record against the other division leaders around the NBA. This was not the case yesterday though, as the Lakers came back from a 9 point halftime deficit to defeat a very tough Nuggets squad.
It is a very unusual site to see Kobe Bryant go for less than 20 points. It is almost unheard of to see Kobe go for less than 15. But Kobe had a meager 14 points yesterday and shot an atrocious 3 of 17 from the field. Not to mention that 8 of his 14 points came from the line. At first glance, if you saw this stat, you would have thought that the Lake Show lost. Then you have to see the number 12 on the stat sheet. Yes, Kobe Bryant, once thought of as the League’s biggest ballhog, had 12 assists.
Kobe was dishing dimes all afternoon and letting his teammates put the ball in the whole all day. This is what makes this Laker’s team so good. They have other guys who can get the job done when Kobe is not on his game. That is the sign of a champion. A team that can win against the League’s elite on a day where they do not play their best game and where their star player is struggling.
Lamar Odom was the other storyline of the day though. The man came up with a huge 20 point outburst off the bench and really picked up the scoring slack. Odom is having another fine year. He is averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds a game. This guy has always been a wild card his entire career. Even when he was slicing through Atlantic 10 defenses at Rhode Island, nobody has ever known what to expect with this guy. He is a player that some days can play awful and appear non-existent in the flow of the game. And then the next day and come out and play like an All Star. Well Sunday was one of those All Star days for Odom.
Guys like Odom, Shannon Brown, and Derek Fisher will really be a key for the Lakers come playoff time. Kobe and Gasol can only do so much. It is very hard for a team to win a title based on one star’s performance. Even Jordan needed help at times. Kobe is no different.
On another note, the American’s suffered a heartbreaking loss yesterday to the heavily favored team from Canada. It was a very exciting and intense game that needed sudden death overtime to settle the score. I guess it is only fitting that Sid the Kid scored the winning goal for Canada. He is arguably the best player in the world and his legend as a National Hero is continuing to grow. The Americans showed a lot of heart throughout the entire tournament and definitely were worthy of their strong finish in these games.
It is very tough to beat a country in their own sport in front of their home fans. I would love to see the Canadians come play the US on US soil in baseball, basketball, or football and even have a prayer. The Americans will be back at the next Olympics and will now be expected to medal. They have raised our expectations of them. I wish there could have been a Miracle on Ice part two, but it was still a very entertaining finish and a great cap off to these Vancouver Winter Games.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.