It was an impressive showing on both ends for the Lakers as they played with much more poise and precision against the Kings, resembling the team that has taken hold of first in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles managed to score 81 points in the first half — another significant number in Bryant’s career — and head coach Frank Vogel discussed his team’s mindset heading into the game, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Yeah, it’s a great number, 81. And it was a great first half, it really was. And we were mad we didn’t win last night and we wanna just get back on track. We actually lost track of the fact that we had lost a game going into last night’s game. We’ve had the mindset of not losing two in a row all year and no one even thought about that as part of our identity.
So when we lost last night’s, we want to come in tonight and to say, ‘We come out mad when we lose a game and we don’t lose two in a row.’ It’s just kind of a mindset for us and to come out and score 81 points in the first half shows that.”
The Lakers established early on in the 2019-20 NBA season they would do their best to bounce back from a loss and so far they have done a solid job living up to that goal. Although they lost consecutive games to the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers, their win against the Kings showed why they are still one of the few favorites to win the 2020 NBA Finals.
The win against the Kings was especially important for the Lakers as it represented one of the first steps toward moving forward in the wake of Bryant’s death. In their game against the Trail Blazers, it was clear that basketball was the furthest thing on any of the players’ minds so it was good to see them come out and get back to playing close to normal.
While the loss of Bryant will still weigh heavy on the purple and gold for the foreseeable future, they have now proven they can rally together and still play a complete game. Hopefully, this win is the start of a new winning streak ahead of the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend.