The undefeated Los Angeles Lakers (7-0) are in the middle of a three game home stand against the current Pacific division leaders Portland Trail Blazers (5-3). Portland won at Staples last year, and hoped to ride that wave again on the back of all-star shooting guard Brandon Roy.
Early in the first quarter Bryant looked to find his rhythm. He attempted a few quick jumpers, both rimming out, penetrated and dished to Fisher and Gasol for open looks. They pushed the tempo of the triangle to where the movement of all five players seemed in unison, thus making an imprint through energy and enthusiasm.
Kobe’s first made shot attempt came around the 5-minute mark. A 15 foot baseline fadaway over the outstretched arms of Nicolas Batum, who had the tough task of guarding an all-star player looking for redemption from last year. After knocking down back-to-back jumpers, Kobe cooled off.
There was great trajectory and rotation on the ball and he seemed comfortable with his release point, but the shots were just not falling. That’s where Kobe’s ability to trust his teammates came into play. He could sense that he needed to depend in the skill of his teammates (averaging 25ppg coming into the game) and knew the guys around him would step up.
Pau Gasol went 9-13 from the field (20 pts), grabbed 14 rebounds, and dished 10 assists logging his fourth career triple double. He was extremely active around the basket recording a game high 5 offensive rebounds. Gasols overall effort was matched by that of Lamar Odem, who finished with 21 points and 12 boards, and not to be outdone by the defensive minded Ron Artest who not only scored 11 points on 5-8 shooting, but held the Trailblazers Brandon Roy to a season low in points (8), shot attempts (6), and field goal percentage (.167). This was key to the Lakers 121- 96 victory, as Roy is the catalyst to the Blazers offense. Seven Lakers scored in double digits including all five starters.
Knowing Kobe he will continue to distribute the ball more as he leads the lakers to continued dominance offensively against the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves (1-6), who currently rank last in the league in points given up per contest 114.4. They have lost by 20 or more 4 out of 7 games this season and aren’t showing any signs of improvement. Look for another strong Lake-Show performance tomorrow night!