Monday, March 18, 2013
Lakers look great without Kobe
Okay, okay, before you Kobe-lovers (including myself) jump to any conclusions, let us premise this post by saying that the Lakers are NOT a better team without Kobe. Making a statement like that is just foolish HOWEVER you have to admit that ball movement is much better without the superstar demanding so much of it and rightfully so.
A bench that once was
Stats from previous two games. (post Kobe's ankle/flu)
Steve Blake - Has scored 18, then 16 points last night. The last time Blake scored 18+ points was against the Nuggets during last year's playoffs (5/12/12). He's dished the rock for 15 assists and is shooting 58% FG (11-19), 64% 3PT (9-14).
Antawn Jamison - Reminds us how valuable he is when given significant minutes. The 14-year vet has scored a total of 44 points w/ 16 rebounds while averaging 34 minutes these past couple of games. He's also shooting the ball efficiently - 58% FG (14-24 FG), 60% 3PT (9-15).
Stand out starters in Kobe's absence
Dwight Howard - Has scored 32-points but more importantly has dominated in the paint - 29 rebounds/9 blocked shots. Lakers have scorers; Howard's defensive presence is desperately needed especially down the stretch.
Steve Nash - I have to say I've gotten a personal liking to Nash. His 12 assists last night pushed me over my fantasy basketball opponent and consequently earned me the final 8th spot in the league's playoffs bracket. How appropriate. He's had a combined total of 21 assists. Oh and his 34 points didn't hurt either.
Metta World Peace - Has shot 64% FG (16-25), scoring a total of 41 points. If you combine his point total from his previous three games, he has 61. I think D'Antoni has the SF spot covered in MWP and Jamison.
Once Gasol makes his return, the PF void left from his torn plantar facia should help the team dramatically. A quiet Clark has been in a shooting slump as of yet.
Look for the Lakers to go 5 games over .500 tonight versus the struggling Phoenix Suns who are the 4th worst team in the NBA. Nash has to have a big game against his former employer.