By Kevin R. Linares
The Lakers seem to enjoy leaving their fans crossing their fingers on the edge of their seats because they have won another game in dramatic fashion. As long as they continue to win, fans certainly do not mind. The Lakers trailed the Toronto Raptors almost the whole game and showed some flashes of the 1st half from the last game against the Hornets playing poor defense and letting their opponent have their way. Little did we know that the Lakers had another come back led by none other than Kobe Bryant, again. With 17 years in the league, playing at a high level and witnessing some of the greatest basketball ever we cannot be too surprised with what Kobe does night in and night out but at this age? He continues to make peoples’ jaw drop.
The Lakers were down as much as 15 points before taking the game to overtime and winning it there. Kobe Bryant had another impressive game with 41 points and 12 assists. He continued to score at a high level with some incredible dunks and shots even after back to back games against the Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Hornets. Kobe played 44 minutes in this game and looked very tired at the end as reporters were talking to him while he was bending over exhausted. Bryant hit some amazing 3 pointers in the fourth, with the more important one coming with just five seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime. With 10 seconds left in overtime he went in for the dunk scoring the basket that would put his team ahead and eventually win. “#VinoUncorked” is what Bryant tweeted after the game as he continues to show that he really is playing better with age.
The Lakers bench had a quiet night with Antwan Jamison scoring the most with 9 points but Dwight Howard and Steve Nash made up for it. Dwight Howard was impressive on defense tonight with a total of 5 blocks to go along with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Nash had a season high with 22 points hitting a few important 3 pointers of his own. For the Raptors DeMar DeRozen led the way with 28 points. The Lakers caught a break with Andrea Bargnani having to leave the game due to an injury to his right elbow.
The Lakers have a day to rest before they take on the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center early on Sunday. The Bulls are currently sitting in the 5th playoff spot in the East and are coming off a win against the Utah Jazz which is a game the Lakers and their fans were keeping an eye on. With the Jazz losing they are now just half a game ahead of Los Angeles. Utah has a tough game on Saturday against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden and with a loss there the Lakers chances of making the playoffs are very much alive. It is just up to them to continue to win and put Utah in their rear view.
The win at home tonight also puts the Lakers over the .500 mark. It has been about three and a half months since that has happened. Now that they are over .500 and looking to put a foot in the playoffs there are headlines to look out for ahead, will Utah lose to the Knicks tomorrow? More importantly if Utah loses, will the Lakers take advantage and beat the Bulls on Sunday to continue their playoff push?