Recap of Victory over Miami
After a convincing win against Portland 2 weeks ago, the Lake Show conducted a players-only meeting and it has brought the team to life. Overall, the Lakers have won 8 of their last 10 games and are playing with passion. The issues between the coaching staff and the players have improved, Coach Mike Brown orchestrated a defensive formula to beat Miami yesterday. They held the Heat to 10-15 shooting form the foul line. They also used their size to forced them to shoot from the perimeter, which is not their strong suit. Miami went 7-24 from behind the arc.
In a game full of All Stars, Kobe Bryant set the tone from the start. He has worn a mask for the last few games, averaging over 30 points a game. In the 4th quarter where Shane Battier played extraordinary defense, the Masked Mamba was simply great. There was no Chris Bosh, who missed the game for personal reasons, and Dwayne Wade fouled out early in the 4th quarter, but Los Angeles did what they were supposed to do (if they want to be contenders for a championship). Down the stretch, Bryant rose to the occasion while LeBron James faded and deferred to Mario Chalmers, but that’s a story in itself.
Pau Gasol struggled with the physicality of James, but he has been playing some good basketball despite the trade rumors and he still notched a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds). Steve Blake flashed a few nice plays, he hit a 3 in the 3rd quarter and threw a couple alley-oops. Andrew Bynum played under control, posting a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds. Metta World Peace chipped in with 17 points while hounding James, making him work for everything.
Since the Players-Only Meeting
Aside from the loss to Oklahoma City, defensively the Lakers are holding opponents to 25% 3-point shooting and 40% from the field. Also aside from the Oklahoma City game, they have kept opponents off the free throw line (not more than 18 attempts).
And the eye test, this team is more fiery. They are locking down defensively and the big 3 are getting it done. So when guys like World Peace follow suit, it makes it easier for role players to excel. Offensively, the Lakers average 98.6 points in the last 5 games.
Kobe Bryant has transformed from the black Mamba to the Masked Mamba, scoring 30+ points in all 3 games when wearing a mask.