The Lakers took the court on Christmas Day with a new starting five, but it was sans Chris Paul. NBA commissioner David Stern annulled the trade that I talked about in my last post. I, for one, am quite pleased with the Lakers keeping the big men Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol due to this.According to the New York Times, the commissioner was concerned that the New Orleans Hornets were not getting a good deal and interestingly the NBA had purchased the team from George Shinn and so the commissioner’s office had the last call in all management decisions.
Now getting to the Christmas Day game against the Chicago Bulls which was actually the third most-watched game on Christmas Day behind the Miami Heat-Laker clash last season and the same match-up in 2004 which was the first time Shaq played the Lakers after going to the Miami Heat. Even though, Bryant was denied at the end and the Lakers fell short by a point, there were some positives to take away from the game. The Lakers played great defense and managed to out-rebound the Bulls without suspended center Bynum.
I am a big Kobe fan, but there were some bad moves by Bryant that saw the Lakers lose a comfortable 87-81 lead with only 54 seconds to go. I know Kobe has the uncanny ability to come good in close games and get that winning basket or play, but it is my sincere hope that he decides to make use of the other four men on the court as well. He does not have to force the issue all the time.
I know that he is going through a divorce at this point, but I always felt that he was mentally strong enough to still stay focused.
While I was typing this up, I also saw the Lakers lose to the Kings 100-91. The Lakers only back-to-back-to-back games stretch has been a disappointment so far. They will now travel back to the Staples Center and get ready to take on the Utah Jazz tomorrow night in what I hope would be new Laker coach Mike Brown’s first win since taking over the reins.