For most NBA franchises, a 16-21 start would extinguish any lingering postseason flames.
They took to the skies (as both have been known to do a time or two in their careers) to showcase just what kind of powerful tandem the two could be forming in Lala land:
Good development for LAL of late = Kobe actively looking for Howard. Already 2 assists, the 2nd an alley-oop for Dwight's dunk.—Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 16, 2013
Bryant rediscovered the prolific passing ability he displayed early in the season, when the team was left scrambling to find a distributor to replace then-injured Steve Nash and still-injured Steve Blake. Through his first 12 minutes of action, Bryant tallied more assists (five) than field goal attempts (four).
And Superman responded with a perfect 4-of-4 shooting performance from the field to open the night.
Throughout the early stages of this season, Howard appeared to bear the lingering effects of his April 2012 back surgery. But since an accelerated return from what was thought to be a torn labrum in his shoulder, Howard has looked as healthy as he ever has in the purple and gold:
Dwight looking much more spry since coming back Sunday. Gets his 2nd, 3rd jumps much quicker than he was previously.—Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) January 16, 2013
Maybe some retro play from Bryant spurred Howard's resurgence:
Kobe w/ the NBA Live 2006 jump-pass to hit Howard for that last oop. Classic.—Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) January 16, 2013
Of course, not everyone's a believer in Bryant the distributor:
"Kobe to Dwight" is trending on Twitter. Is today Dwight Howard's birthday? Because there's no way that's referring to a pass from Kobe.—Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) January 16, 2013
He did after all enter Tuesday's game with a league-high 21.9 field goal attempts per game.
Analysts may have long since written off the postseason hopes of the Lakers, but the fellow Western Conference playoff hopefuls think they're right in being optimistic about their playoff chances.
No matter their early struggles, there isn't a team in the conference that wants to see a postseason matchup with the talent-rich Lakers.