Kobe Leads Lakers Over Cavs Despite Injuring Finger

Ryan WardCorrespondent IJanuary 20, 2009

OK Lakers fans now you can breathe! After seeing Kobe Bryant holding his shooting hand in agony I felt sick to my stomach as I started to think, "There goes the season."

Usually when Kobe has gotten hurt he keeps playing with just the look of pain on his face, but right when he dislocated his ring finger in his shooting hand the pain was seemingly unbearable as he couldn't do anything besides signal to the bench to take him out.

When the game was finished and Kobe did his usual post game interview he said that the pain he was feeling during the game was the most he has ever had to deal with while playing.

Any basketball player knows that once you injured you shooting hand whether it be jamming your fingers or spraining your wrist you have to drastically change your game because shooting the basketball becomes very painful or damn near impossible. Kobe Bryant on the other hand sucked it up and stayed in the game which was amazing in my opinion.

Not only did Kobe stay in the game after his injury, but he put on show with some of the toughest shots I have ever seen him make. If anyone in the league can stick Kobe, it is LeBron James, but once Kobe got in a groove he started making incredible shots over King James. He only scored 20 points, so it wasn't like he was lighting LeBron up all night, but the three shots I saw him make over LBJ were what makes him the better player as of right now.

There is no doubt in my mind that one day in the near future Kobe will be passing the torch to LeBron, but after seeing the way he played through pain, leading his team to victory and kept LeBron relatively in check, King James still has some learning to do from the best player in the NBA.

Although Kobe dished out 12 assists and scored 20 points, it wasn't a one man show in the 105-88 win over the Cavs.

The supporting cast of the Lakers continues to impress me even being short handed without Luke Walton or leader of the Bench Mob Jordan Farmar due to injuries. This may be a long shot, but I think Trevor Ariza should be in consideration for some NBA awards this season. Sixth Man of the Year? Defensive Player of the Year? Ariza probably won't be in the running for these NBA awards at season's end, but he definitely is both the Lakers best sixth man and defensive player right now!

With 10 points (2 of 2 from deep), four steals and four boards, Ariza was a beast against the Cavs. Along with Ariza, Sasha "The Machine" Vujacic was also key in this win as he was on fire from beyond the arch hitting 4 of 5 from three point territory finishing the game with 14 points off the bench.

Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol also played a big role in against the Cavs as they both dominated the paint, Bynum still struggles with his rebounding only ripping down six boards, but he made up for it with 14 points. Gasol continues to effective scoring a team high 22 points and crashing the glass with 12 rebounds.

Even though the two losses to the San Antonio Spurs and the Orlando Magic were hard to bear, this win over LeBron's Cavs shows that the Lakers still got it and once they get healthy should be one of the best teams in the NBA.

NEXT LAKERS GAME: Los Angeles Lakers @ Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday Jan. 21 7:30pm PST