ESPN: It was the perfect metaphor for the Lakers’ perfect start: a dagger 3-pointer by Kobe Bryant, with James Posey right in his grill, that staved off a New Orleans comeback and gave the Lakers a 93-86 win over the Hornets.
The win pushed the Lakers to 7-0, and with Atlanta’s loss in Boston it made them the league’s sole undefeated team. It’s a status they may hang on to for a while — seven of L.A.’s next eight games are in the friendly confines of Staples Center, starting with Friday’s contest against Detroit.
And although Bryant denied flashing back to the Finals while draining the shot over Posey, it symbolized the motivation for L.A.’s awe-inspiring start. The Lakers were exposed as soft, mentally and physically, in that six-game defeat to Boston last year, and their start has been a response to that discovery. What better way to cap it than by nailing a shot over the former Boston defensive stopper who so frustrated the Lakers in last season’s Finals?
For that matter, an earlier Posey-related episode helped symbolize L.A.’s newfound toughness. It all started when Chris Paul used a first-quarter stoppage in play to take exception to a blow from Pau Gasol underneath; Gasol, notorious as a shrinking violet in such situations, made sure to respond. When Posey — who hadn’t even checked into the game yet — came off the bench to intervene, Gasol would have none of it, and each earned a tech for his troubles. It never got physical, but it showed L.A.’s resolve.