There probably hasn’t been any other player you would want to have the ball in his hand in the clutch more than Kobe Bryant for almost two decades now. Kobe thrives on pressure, and more often than not, he delivers in incredible fashion.
In his seventeenth year in the pros, Kobe still was the guy to have the ball to close out games or lead some pretty amazing comebacks. That is one of the top skills that the Lakers will miss the most and will need to make adjustments for.
This especially holds true as the Lakers only have one game remaining in the regular season, and their opponent, the Houston Rockets, will surely give them a fight. Mike D’Antoni recently talked about this adjustment that is a necessity. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLA:
“It’s going to take a while to smooth things out and get things under control,” D’Antoni said. “At the end of games, end of shot clocks, [Bryant] is the best in the business at it. That’s where we have to figure out how to run plays and let the system do the thing.
“But Dwight will step up and go. Pau will do it. The system will do it. We’ll just let ’em play and the ball will find whoever is open.”
The great news is that both Pau and Dwight have improved not only their individual games as of late, but their ability to work with each other and off each other as well. Their high/low post game that was anticipated by every Lakers fan prior to the start of the season, has finally come alive.
This will continue as Pau and Dwight will collectively become “the guy” with the absence of the Mamba. Of course, every player must chip in to fill the void of Kobe, but Pau and Dwight’s experience, basketball IQ, skills and leadership gives them the key to the car.
Dwight and Pau have stepped up for the team, especially over the last few games. The Lakers look to close out their season with a win on Wednesday, and their playoff standings will be determined as well.
In case you missed it, be sure to check out what Mitch Kupchak had to say about the Lakers amnestying Kobe Bryant!
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