The Los Angles Lakers seem to have turned on a switch as of late. A switch that has the power to turn dismal teams into championship ones, a switch that could very well put the Lakers into title contention. OK, probably getting ahead of myself there, but nonetheless The Lakers seem to have figured it out these past few games, and the one constant change from those 3 games has been Kobe Bryant.
Kobe isn’t ashamed to consider himself a scorer, and the one guy on the team who can always be counted on to hit clutch shots and make timely buckets. Unfortunately there is that horrible statistic floating around the sports world that states The Lakers are better when Kobe Bryant doesn’t score more than 30 points. Back in December of this season that stat line read that The Lakers were 1-9 in those very games. Yikes, that’s quite the horrifying statistic, and I for one thought it was a fluke and that the stat really didn’t mean anything because Kobe was shooting nearly 49% from the field. When someone shoots that well it makes it hard to believe those shots are unnecessary.
And then suddenly he changed, The Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant, changed. He changed his game for the sake of the team and boy has it paid off in the best way possible.
The Lakers last four games have been phenomenal (except the collapse in Phoenix) and a lot of it, if not all, is due to Kobe’s new game he’s bringing to the table. Instead of shooting his average of 21 shots per game, he’s dialed it down to an average of 13 shots per game, and he’s making 53% of those attempts over the last 4 games. Not only is he adjusting his shots per game but he’s also averaging 12 assists and about 8 rebounds per game over this span.
These kind of changes to Kobe’s game are unprecedented, (Kobe’s career averages are 5 assists and 5 rebounds per game), we have never seen him dish out this many assists in his entire career, it’s just not how he plays basketball. These near triple-double numbers are exactly what The Lakers need right now and it seems to be paying off in wins.
Kobe Bryant has changed his game by passing up typical “Kobe” shots and instead sends sharp, zooming passes down the lane to a wide open cutter, or he drives to the hoop and kicks it out to an open man beyond the arc. It’s this type of play that wins games and boosts that ever so elusive team chemistry and moral. All Laker players are benefitting from Kobe’s unselfish play, and with everyone getting their touches and shots, one can only assume it’s a matter of time before LA gets on the right track.
Unfortunately the team lost their momentum a couple nights ago in Phoenix as they blew a 13 point lead with 9 minutes left in the fourth. Regardless of the collapse, this is the way the Lakers must play in order to be successful and really make that push to be where they should be.
Kobe Bryant is a scorer and the one who always takes the open shot if he’s got it, and the fact that he has changed his game so drastically for the betterment of the team is fantastic. As long as The Lakers continue to play team basketball, find the open man, and play a strong defense they will find themselves close to where they’d like to be. Unfortunately the hole they dug themselves up to this point in the season is more than likely too deep to get completely out of, but they can fill it in a bit with the style of play they are exhibiting.
The Lakers will be tested again tonight against The Minnesota Timberwolves and I hope to see the new look Kobe Bryant out there on the court. If the Lakers falter back to their old ways we may as well throw the rest of the season away, as most of you already have. The Lakers seem to have found a silver lining in this disaster of a season and if they can look to that during hard times they will be successful and begin to chalk up some W’s when it counts. Here we go Los Angeles, let’s see what we’re made of.