Things must be getting confusing for Kobe Bryant and his loyal fans that love to see him shoot the ball and score points in bunches. Believe it or not, the Lakers don’t need Kobe Bryant to be dominant for them to win. They don’t even need him to be the Kobe we’ve all come to know, that is, the Kobe that scores a whole bunch of points and takes and makes ridiculous shots. The Lakers just don’t need that to win.
It’s getting confusing because dating back to last year, in game 7 for the NBA Championship when Kobe had the worst playoff game of his career, the Lakers found a way to win. Now, this year, game 1 against the Hornets, Kobe has a phenomenal game scoring 34 points and the Lakers lose. Game 2, Kobe Bryant is held to just 11 points and was basically a non factor and the Lakers win…easily.
Game 2 marked the second straight game that Pau Gasol was terrible as he and Bryant combined for only 19 points. Somehow the Lakers kept rolling despite their two all stars having off days. It is both a testament of how deep the Lakers are and how good Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum are.
There’s no way the Hornets would have expected to lose Game 2 if they had known in advance that Kobe and Pau would go a combined 5-for-20 from the field. No other team in the league would be capable of beating a good team by double digits in the playoffs with their two best players having a terrible night. The Lakers are that good.
Let’s face it, the Lakers actually have three all stars on that team if you add Lamar Odom who for all intents and purposes, was snubbed from the all star game this year.
Lamar Odom was just awarded the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award and became the first Laker ever to win the award.
If the craziness continues and the Lakers continue to play the way they are playing and somehow make it to the finals, Lamar might be the only Laker that isn’t named Shaq or Kobe to win an NBA Finals MVP this millennium.
Realistically, the Lakers will need Bryant and Gasol to play much better than they did in Game 2 if they hope to three-peat. But it is quite interesting to note how little the Lakers need Bryant to dominate with the contributions they are getting from their bench and supporting cast. In fact, the mismatch most times isn’t when Bryant has the ball, rather, with the size of the Lakers, it is when the ball is the hands of Odom, Bynum and when he’s on, Gasol.