Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum Provide the One-Two Punch for the Lakers

Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried received a long pass along the baseline with the Lakers leading 95-91, late in the 4th quarter. Rather than concede the lay-up, Kobe Bryant and Steve Blake applied pressure from behind.

Somehow, Bryant was able to pry the ball away, and was off to the races down the court. After dodging one defender and body-checking another (Ty Lawson), Bryant jumped into the air and scooped the ball beneath another defender’s arms to an wide-open Andrew Bynum for an easy dunk (plus the foul). Now that’s the one-two punch the Lakers (and their fans) are accustomed to seeing.

Whether it’s a dominant defensive and rebounding night from Bynum, or yet another unbelievable scoring night for Bryant, the Lakers have a familiar look about themselves.

Confidence.

Bryant recently made headlines for comments he made about his belief in the Lakers’ ability to win a title this season.

“I expect to win it, absolutely…” — Bryant told Max & Marcellus of 710ESPN.

Some, like Skip Bayless (ESPN), have snickered at those remarks, and even gone as far as to question whether Bryant truly believes it. While I’m not certain whether Bayless is simply trying to steal a headline or two, if there’s anything we know about Bryant, we can be certain he is never lacking in confidence. Nor, should he be. The Denver Nuggets made several adjustments, after taking the 15-point drubbing in Game 1. Lawson was much more aggressive (25 points, seven assists), the Denver centers played along the perimeter in order to draw Bynum away from the basket, and they even tried switching to a longer defender on an aggressive Bryant in Corey Brewer.

None of it worked.

Sure, the Nuggets pulled to within a few possessions down the stretch, but sequences like the one described above sealed the deal as the Lakers took a 2-0 lead in this (best-of-seven) opening round series. All they’ve done is protect their home-court. True, but it is the way they’ve been able to win those games is what is most impressive. Bynum is completely locked in, Gasol has been sharp and active, and Bryant looks rejuvenated and crisp following that rest he received down the stretch of the season.

In MWP’s absence, Mike Brown has shortened his rotation, and he continues to get timely contributions from the bench. While Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, and Jordan Hill only scored eight points combined, it was the timely block by Barnes and the double-digit rebounds from Hill (10) that helped make the difference throughout the game.

This series is by no means over, but the Lakers can take that aforementioned confidence on the road to Denver. Having started the year 3-9 on the road, the Lakers were a much tougher road team down the stretch. Much like the effort the Lakers were able to collectively muster in a recent road game versus the Spurs (without Bryant), this team will need a total team effort to defeat the pesky Nuggets in the altitude of Denver.

The Nuggets were the highest scoring team in the league (104 points per game) throughout the regular season. A mark Brown’s Lakers have been able to hold them beneath over the first two games of the series. Known for his attention to detail, Brown is now charged with getting yet another maximum effort out of his depleted roster.

The playoffs are not a forgiving time, so a setback won’t be as acceptable as in the regular season. If the Lakers are able to limit transition, continue playing effective/efficient on offense, and maintain focus upon the team concept, they should be in good shape.

If they keep getting performances out of Bryant and Bynum like they did in Game Two (65 points, 13 rebounds, three steals, three blocks combined), these Lakers won’t have much to worry about at all.

Something tells me, judging by the look in Bryant and Bynum’s eyes, this squad won’t be satisfied with simply attempting to steal a game in Denver. They have the look of a team that isn’t willing to get ahead of themselves, but definitely wants to send a message to the rest of the league.

Friday night, in Denver, the Lakers have their first opportunity to do just that.

I simply want to say I am very new to blogs and definitely loved you’re page. Most likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You amazingly come with good well written articles. Regards for sharing your web site.

  • Thanks for every other excellent post. The place else may just anyone get that kind of info in such an ideal manner of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the look for such information.

  • Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, superb site!

  • Aw, this was an actually wonderful article. In idea I would love to place in writing such as this furthermore? taking time as well as actual initiative to make a great article? but what can I say? I put things off alot and also by no means seem to obtain something done.

  • The next time I review a blog site, I wish that it doesn’t dissatisfy me as long as this one. I mean, I recognize it was my choice to read, yet I actually thought youd have something interesting to state. All I listen to is a lot of whining about something that you might deal with if you werent too active trying to find focus.

  • Aw, this was a really good message. In concept I would like to place in writing such as this additionally? taking some time as well as real initiative to make a great write-up? but what can I claim? I hesitate alot and also by no means seem to obtain something done.

  • I?d need to contact you below. Which is not something I typically do! I delight in reading a message that will make people assume. Also, thanks for enabling me to comment!

  • The following time I check out a blog, I hope that it does not dissatisfy me as long as this set. I imply, I recognize it was my selection to review, yet I in fact believed youd have something fascinating to state. All I hear is a number of whimpering concerning something that you might deal with if you werent also busy trying to find focus.

  • I?m pleased, I should state. Truly hardly ever do I run into a blog that?s both educative and amusing, as well as let me inform you, you have actually struck the nail on the head. Your concept is outstanding; the problem is something that insufficient people are talking smartly around. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

  • Can I just claim what a relief to locate a person that in fact knows what theyre discussing on the net. You absolutely know just how to bring a problem to light and make it vital. More people require to read this as well as recognize this side of the tale. I cant believe youre not more prominent because you definitely have the present.

  • I was really happy to locate this web-site. I wished to thanks for your time for this terrific read!! I certainly taking pleasure in every little of it and also I have you bookmarked to take a look at new things you post.

  • Right here is the perfect webpage for anyone who would like to understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject which has been discussed for a long time. Wonderful stuff, just great!

  • An intriguing conversation deserves remark. I believe that you need to write more on this topic, it might not be a frowned on topic but generally individuals are inadequate to speak on such subjects. To the next. Thanks

  • Youre so trendy! I do not expect Ive check out anything similar to this prior to. So good to locate somebody with some initial ideas on this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up. this internet site is something that is required on the internet, a person with a little originality. valuable task for bringing something brand-new to the internet!

  • Hey, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!

  • You’re so awesome! I don’t believe I have read through something like that before. So great to discover someone with a few original thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

  • An intriguing conversation deserves remark. I assume that you should write more on this topic, it may not be a forbidden topic but generally people are not nearly enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.