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Lakers Stomp Nets, and It's Still About the Greatness of Kobe

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Perhaps you read this paragraph, in a recent Y! Sports article by the ever-great Woj:

Yes, the Lakers have a supporting cast for Bryant. He doesn’t have to do as much, but he rarely fails them when called upon in moments of truth. Eventually, Andrew Bynum’s leg could give out again, and Ron Artest could go haywire and the Lakers’ championship chase could still be all about the greatness of Kobe Bryant.

And that's about how it went last night. Oh, minus the injuries and Ron Ron going all Crazy Pills on us.

In the end, this game came down to the start of the third quarter, where Kobe gave his teammates another chance to get it going, waited about two minutes, then got pissed off (not to mention tired of the Josh Powell show) and ripped off 6 quick points without even seeming to try. He dominated in the third quarter, in which the Lakers followed his lead to a 12-point swing, going into the 4th up 10 after being down 2 at half.

Gasol and Fisher were the first to pick up Kobe's energy, and the Lakers' defense took it up a notch in the 4th, as well. In the end, it was a good second half and ended in an oh-so-tasty blowout, just as it should have been all along.

Not thrilled with the minutes the starters had to play (though Andrew Bynum should be nice and rested after fouling out in a mere 11 minutes of court time) — but then, this is the road, and beggars can't be choosers. We've had plenty of rest to start the season and a good couple days before this, so as far as I'm concerned, a road win is a road win, and if the starters play a few more minutes than we'd prefer ... well, I'm not crying over any spilt milk.

A dominant all-around performance from Kobe: 12-23 for 29 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, a steal, and a monster block. Only two turnovers, which hopefully is a sign of good ball-handling adjustment to his finger injury.

Gasol had a quiet but effective night, turning in 14/14/6, and Lamar Odom had one of his better games in a while — his 14/12/4 line serving as a reminder that the Lakers can be a-okay even when missing a big man, every now and then.

Here are your numbers for the night. Note the very excellent Points Per Possession Numbers — that 0.88 defensive PPP just might be enough to drop us below Boston for the Defensive Efficiency lead, making LA the undisputed best defense in the NBA (statistically) — last I checked, we already own the defensive FG%, eFG%, and TS%.

Poss TO% FTA/FGA FT% EFG% TS% Off Reb% Def Reb% PPP
LA 92 13 0.16 79 53 56 25 80 1.13
NJ 94 9 0.33 70 40 45 20 75 0.88