Los Angeles Lakers: Was Victory over Dallas Mavericks Glimpse of What's to Come?
There is no doubt that if the Los Angeles Lakers play the way they did on Wednesday night, no team is going to win four out of seven against them in the playoffs.
Everything just clicked perfectly for the team, who were coming off a disappointing and heart-wrenching loss the previous night in Houston.
What's most impressive about the victory is that the Lakers looked sharp a night after a letdown on the second game of a back-to-back situation. The team has struggled in the second game of back-to-backs on the road all season long with a 3-8 record in those situations, but they ended up playing one of their best all-around games of the year.
Plenty of credit should go to the newest Laker, Ramon Sessions, who scored 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting, nine assists, five rebounds and was a +28 on the stat sheet. He penetrated and slashed through the defense to put up easy buckets. He also drained a few threes to help the Lakers snap their two-game skid.
Kobe Bryant also added 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting and Pau Gasol's 27 points and nine rebounds were also a major factor in the Lakers win.
Even Matt Barnes played possibly his best game of the year after he scored 11 points and grabbed nine boards. He was a +23 on the stat sheet and he's been meshing very well with the newly-acquired Sessions so far.
So, can the Lakers play better than they played today?
Games like today should be the norm from now on.
It's important to note that Andrew Bynum wasn't a big factor offensively today. He only took five shots and couldn't even crack 10 points. That being said, he was a behemoth on defense with two blocks and a +16 rating.
Bynum didn't really have to get involved offensively because the Lakers were making all of their shots. They shot 58.4 percent for the night, which was a breath of fresh air since they've found it difficult to find the net in some games this season.
Finally, the defensive effort was solid. The team had a total of five blocks and showed that just because they've gotten better offensively, it doesn't mean they're going to sacrifice any of their stingy defense.
The Lakers aren't going to shoot close to 60 percent every night, but they should gain solace in knowing that even if they weren't making their shots, they could've fed it inside to Bynum and have him take more shots. When a team can win without one of their best players doing much offensively, it exemplifies depth, something the Lakers haven't had much of all year long.
The Lakers showed today that they can win in multiple ways now that they have Sessions. Part of the reason why they were making so many shots was because he was facilitating the offense for everyone else. He helped move the ball extremely well and there was flow to the offense.
It wasn't stagnant like it usually is when the Lakers run the shot clock to three seconds and jack up an ugly shot.
As Sessions gets accustomed to the offense and his teammates, we'll be seeing performances like this from the Lakers more often.
The Lakers aren't going to be settling for atrocious three-point shots anymore. The offense looks more systematic and, as mentioned above, has a flow to it.
Just as long as Kobe doesn't try to do too much late in games and try to take over, the Lakers will be fine. Kobe needs to realize that he has a stacked team surrounding him and there is absolutely no reason for him to be taking more than 25 shots per game.
But Kobe's a smart guy. He probably sees how much better this team has gotten in the past week despite just winning two of four.
Wednesday night was a glimpse of what's to come.
A high-profile scorer, a dominant center, a mid-range big and a quick, facilitating point guard with some hard-working guys like Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes surrounding them.
Sounds like a championship team to me.
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