Heading into last night's game, Kobe Bryant was pretty much a lock to win his first Silver Screen and Roll Player of the Week. I'd like to imagine Kobe has been reading the site the past five Saturdays and wondering how in the world it was possible that five weeks have gone by and he had yet to win. Pau, Shannon and Derek Fisher have each won once. Lamar, twice. Where was Kobe? I'm sure it bothered him to not be on the list of winners yet.
Black Mamba started this week out great. Last night against Philly? Ehhh. Meanwhile Lamar had his best game of the week in yet another fantastic week for him. I always say I hold Kobe to a higher standard in his role than any other player. Barring injuries, I pretty much feel Kobe can usually have a great game or week whenever he wants. He's been great this year, and should be an MVP candidate, but week to week there have been other players fulfilling their roles better. Pau got off to the best start of his career before fatigue set in. Shannon has been playing out of his mind. The President had that game-winner, and Lamar has been very and comfortably consistent. They all bumped Mamba out the way. Until now. Finally, Kobe Bryant is the Player of the Week. Barely...
I say barely because Lamar Odom could have easily been bragging to Khloe how he's won his third POW in four weeks. In the two weeks he won the award, his stats looked like this:
15.25 points, 10 rebounds, 5.25 assists and 1.25 blocks a game. He shot 26 of 48 for 54% from the field.
16.0 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, and 1.0 steal per game. He shot 27 of 46 for 58% from the field.
Those weeks are nothing compared to this week's gems. Check 'em:
20.25 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.75 assists, 1 block, and 0.75 steals per game. He shot 31 of 48 for a whopping 64.6% from the field.
Wow. I've gone on and on about the ease and confidence Lamar has been playing with. Every week, though, he gets better than the one before. All of a sudden it seems as if he realized he can dunk on people. I'm not sure If I've ever watched him play this aggressively and with such a positive impact in doing so. He's shooting well, finishing drives even better than he's shooting, and seems to always be in the right place whenever Pau or Kobe need to pass out of a double team. He's 3rd in the NBA in field goal percentage and 9th in rebounds and had better be named an All-Star. I know it's not all about stats, but good lord, how could I not give this award to Lamar after this week?
Because Kobe was just a bit better.
It's about time, too. Following four straight losses, Kobe more than any other player on the team has picked up his play. Except for last night, he shot the ball exceptionally well, especially from three, controlled the pace of the game, set up teammates and did so in 36 minutes or less.
24 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.75 steals per game. He shot 30 of 61 for 49.1% from the field, including 11 of 23 from three for 47.8 3P%.
It must be said that his averages were brought down by last night's game vs. Philly. Overall, he didn't have a good game. He looked tired, didn't shoot well and defended kind of lazily. Actually, except for Lamar and Matt Barnes, none of the Lakers played too well. If you just look at the numbers, you might think I'm crazy to pick Kobe for his first POW over Lamar's third. For the umpteenth time though, let me remind you that it's Kobe who sets the tone for the Lakers.
When the Lakers play like they did last night, how many times do we see Kobe attempt to impose his will and carry the Lakers? Especially on the road? We might see him break form the Triangle, take long threes, contested jumpersor adamant post ups while trying to pick up a tired team. Given the fact that it was in Philly and his high school just dedicated a new gym to him, it was likely that he might. Instead, "facilitator" Kobe showed up in winning time, and not the assassin Mamba who will keep shooting. Because his shot wasn't on last night, and he realized it and then got his teammates involved. He only took one shot in the 4th (a miss). A close game turned into garbage time in the blink of an eye, and it was mostly due to the controlled pace Kobe set. That is why I hold him to the high standard I do, because sometimes, it's a matter of choice for him. He's that great. It's how he helped the Lakers win on an off night that impressed me. His hot starts and efficient play encouraged the Lakers to take care of business during this seven game road trip. They've now won 7 of 8 games, including all 4 this week.
Here's highlights from the Pacers game. His best game of the week:
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What do you think?