Just like Kobe Bryant has done in many different days and in many different places, he again today on Super Bowl Sunday led the Lakers past the Wizards, 103-91.
Bryant opened the afternoon with a shooting clinic that saw him hit fo 19 points in the opening period on his way to finishing with 30. The Lakers ran their offense with percison as they have with Kobe’s head back in the game. Add the newest Laker, Pau Gasol to the equation and it is about to get real nice on the West Coast come later this week.
The Lakers compiled 27 assists on 41 field goals, with Vladimir Radmanovic scoring 15 points, Lamar Odom 14, and Ronny Turiaf 13. Not a bad afternoon for a team that has become the team to beat over the past two months.
Bryant commented after the game about the addtion of Gasol and where this team is right now.
“We’ve grown a lot together. And we understand how to play with one another,” Bryant said. “That’s the big thing — the chemistry. Knowing where guys are.”
Caron Butler scored 15 points, while Washington’s other All-Star selection, Antawn Jamison, led the team with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
“Antawn and Caron went out there as they have done all season long and made this a game. I know Caron was feeling a bit off and defending Kobe did not make it any easier for him, but he still did the best he could and that is why these two guys are All Stars,” said Jordan.
“We didn’t play as a group as well as we need to play to beat a team like the Lakers. Or anybody. We don’t win this game against anybody tonight,” Jordan said. “We had bailouts, we had short cuts and not enough passion from everybody and not enough concentration from everybody.”
The Wizards (24-22), who have fallen in a rut have lost three straight and six of their past 10, haven’t been following Jordan’s formula for victory at all lately. Even the return of Butler, who missed three games with a strained left hip flexor, couldn’t make the game close.
“We need to be able to rely on our bench to help out when we get in foul trouble, which the Wizards did on the first play of the game when DeShawn Stevenson fouled Bryant.
“Right now, with these games we’ve been losing, everybody is giving us a big punch and when they give us that punch, we hang our heads,” Stevenson said.
“Today, with Kobe coming out like a scoring machine, we didn’t respond the way we did in the Boston wins, the Dallas wins and other wins we’ve had. We can’t be waiting for those punches to come against a caliber of team like that.”
Caron Butler missed only one of Washington’s first 42 games, but he is expected to miss his second in a row Wednesday, when the Wizards play at Toronto.