LA Lakers vs. Charlotte Bobcats: Postgame Grades and Analysis for LA
Kobe Bryant went scoreless in the first half for just the sixth time in his entire career, but came back in the second half and scored 20 points, leading the Lakers down the stretch as they battled back and forth with a feisty Bobcats squad.
Los Angeles was able to overcome sloppy turnovers, poor transition defense and an unusual outing from Bryant to win a game it desperately needed.
Point Guard: Steve Nash
Steve Nash consistently looked uncomfortable in the first half, trying to pick the right moments to get Dwight Howard involved while balancing his own scoring duties—playing off the ball more than he probably should have.
Near the end of the third quarter, he had four assists and four turnovers, while missing six of his 10 shot attempts (including 0-of-4 from behind the three-point line). But down the stretch, his shot began to fall. He finished the game with 17 points on 12 shots, and didn't turn the ball over once in the fourth quarter.
Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant didn't score his first points until there was 8:49 left in the third quarter, with the Lakers trailing by 19. Thankfully for the Lakers, he assumed his normal identity down the stretch, scoring 20 points in the second half and getting to the foul line in the fourth quarter with relative ease.
The Bobcats tried everything against Bryant defensively, but he was too much, getting into the post and abusing his individual defender whenever a double-team didn't come. He also had eight assists and seven rebounds.
Small Forward: Metta World Peace
Metta World Peace began the game defending Byron Mullins in a blatant mismatch and was quickly subbed out after several lifeless possessions that saw him get beaten back in transition. World Peace was pretty awful shooting the ball, bumbling to the hoop and missing layups, and on one brain fart of a sequence pulling up for a three-pointer with the shot clock off and 13 seconds remaining in the first half.
World Peace went 5-of-14 from the floor in 31 minutes, scoring 11 points and missing all four of his attempts from downtown.
Power Forward: Earl Clark
In the first three quarters, Earl Clark was the only Laker coming up with loose balls and affecting the game with pure energy. In the third quarter, when the Lakers cut Charlotte's 20-point lead down to nine, Clark scored 12 points.
He shot an efficient 50 percent from the floor on 14 shots, grabbing 10 rebounds and ending the game with a team-high plus-minus of plus-14. Clark was a major positive Friday night, and the Lakers wouldn't have made a comeback if it weren't for the hustle he provided.
Center: Dwight Howard
L.A. went to Dwight Howard in the post for a left-handed baby hook on the very first possession of the game. He was quiet the rest of the quarter before he asserted himself midway through the second quarter, garnering back-to-back and-ones as the Bobcats refused to counter with a hard double-team.
It appeared early on like the Lakers were forcing the ball to Howard. And they were. But as the game wore on, he began to receive touches in natural situations. He impacted the game on the glass and defensive end, too, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking three shots.
It should be noted, however, that the Lakers made their big comeback in the third quarter with Howard on the bench.
Sixth Man: Steve Blake
Steve Blake was insignificant for much of the game. He played 18 minutes, but missed all five of his shots from the floor (including four from behind the arc) and had no real influence. He went scoreless and was the second guard off the bench in the first quarter, behind Jodie Meeks.
Jodie Meeks made two big three-pointers in the first quarter when the Lakers were trailing by double digits and letting the game slip away. Defensively, he struggled just like everyone else, but his shot never wavered. He finished 4-of-4 from behind the three-point line, scoring 14 huge points in 30 minutes of action.
Antawn Jamison was solid on offense, knocking down a big three-pointer late in the game, but his defensive woes continued, and it was often the case that Mike D'Antoni opted to sub him out in offense-to-defense transitions.