On Friday night at the Staples Center, Kobe Bryant turned the tables on everyone in the building by coming into the game against the Utah Jazz with an entirely different approach. Kobe became a facilitator rather than attacking the Jazz with a score-first mentality.
As a result of Kobe’s decision to mix it up with a different style of play, the Lakers crushed the Jazz and turned a lot of heads in the process with the perennial All-Star dishing out a game-high 14 assists and coming one rebound shy of a triple-double.
Despite the impressive showing by Kobe and the rest of the team against Utah, the Lakers’ coaching staff knew that Sunday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder would be a different story altogether. With the best record in the NBA coming into this game and the distinction as possibly the best team in the league, the consensus was the Thunder would roll through Los Angeles on Sunday and continue dominating the competition with superstar Kevin Durant making a strong case for NBA MVP once again.
Although not many believed the Lakers could even contend with the Thunder in this game, Kobe and company proved their doubters wrong by taking down the top team in the Western Conference in convincing fashion, 105,96.
Following the loss to the Lakers, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks talked about Kobe Bryant’s performance and the team’s inability to contain him with his new style of play via ESPN’s Chris Palmer:
Scott Brooks: “Kobe picked us apart.”
— chris palmer (@ESPNChrisPalmer) January 27, 2013
Kobe was in facilitator mode once again on Sunday handing out a game-high 14 assists for the second straight game. The five-time NBA champion also scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the process with a performance that was nearly identical to Friday night’s game against the Jazz.
There’s no telling if Kobe can continue to play with a different mentality on the court in terms of getting his other teammates involved, but it is clearly working in the team’s favor and may be exactly what this squad needs to right the ship in Los Angeles.