Photo: Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

The Lakers finished their three game week going 2-1 and finding themselves back at .500. While they’re still 2.5 games behind the final playoff spot, their recent success gives hope to the Laker faithful that we will see an extended season. Here are this week’s top and bottom:

 

TOP

Photo courtesy of Stephen Dunn, Getty Images.
Photo courtesy of Stephen Dunn, Getty Images.

3. The Bench

The Laker bench, lead by Antawn Jamison, has been a big part of the Lakers recent success. Jamison topped my list last week and deserves the same credit, but this week Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks deserve recognition as well. The bench averaged 30 ppg this week with a highlight performance against Minnesota when Jamison, Blake, and Meeks were all in double figures. In that game Meeks hit 4 three-pointers on his way to 16 points and Blake hit 3 of his own and ended with 13 points to go along with 6 assists and 7 rebounds.

2. Steve Nash

Steve Nash made his way back into the top list this week after averaging 13.6 points and 7.3 assists. Nash finished the week with a double double (15 points, 10 assists) in Sunday night’s roller coaster against the Hawks where he also lead the team in the +/- category with a remarkable +20 (in a game they only won by 1 point).

1. Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant was good enough to be named Western Conference Player of the Month for February, so he’s good enough to top my list. Kobe had averages of 32 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 6 assists this week while shooting 52.7%. He also buried all talk about his recent three-point shooting slump by hitting 42.8% from beyond the arc. The former MVP has been having an age defying season with more highlight dunks this year then what feels like the past five years. He’s also taken on a new nickname “Vino” (wine) because he gets better with age.

 

BOTTOM

Photo: AP

3. Dwight Howard

Dwight made his way back to the bottom of the list this week mainly because of his free throw shooting. In the three games this week Dwight only hit 5-20 free throws. While a poor free throw percentage is to be expected of Howard, 25% is well below his season average of 48%.

2. Metta World Peace

While his numbers have improved over the last three games, MWP still finds himself on my bottom list this week. Metta still seems to be out of rhythm offensively taking shots he shouldn’t take, trying to drive it in a crowded lane, and not being able to finish around the basket.  He continues to struggle leading the break and still holds the ball much longer than needed.

1. Earl Clark

After surprising the entire league with his career season Earl Clark has began to slow down. Since the emergence of Antawn Jamison, Clark has seen a decrease in minutes and likewise a decrease in productivity. Clark had averages of only 6.3 points and 4 rebounds this week. Clark also lead the team in the minus category against the Nuggets with a -17.