Really, should anyone be surprised anymore?
As a sports fan, sometimes it's important to compartmentalize in order to obtain the maximum amount of enjoyment from said fandom. Or perhaps it's best just to see the glass as half-full or better. Either way, without a little bit of from columns A or B, Friday night's 109-108 win over the Sacramento Kings at Staples, the second game the Lakers have seemingly stolen from Sacramento in a matter of days, one about as improbable as they come and fueled by Kobe Bryant's third buzzer beating shot of the still-young season, this one getting out of his hand with barely one-tenth of a tick on the clock, might seem less fun. (Click here for the highlight(s).)
Whatever fans might think about the rest of the game- I'll get there in a sec- the run Kobe is on these days is a remarkable one. He's is making a serious MVP statement, and there's nothing Lakers fans love more. (Outside of titles and perhaps a list of what we know about Kobe's clutchtasticness, the latter of which is provided here by the Register's Kevin Ding...)
Except maybe high caliber play, and as Andy points out in last night's recap, the Lakers only delivered for one half. Despite the second half heroics- L.A. held Sacto to 44 points while Kobe scored 27 points after a 3-11 start in the first two quarters- I thought the Lakers deserved to lose. ESPN LA's Dave McMenamin wonders if this run of Kobe-heroics is as much a symptom of the team's current problems as it is a testament to Kobe's incredible skill. I'd say so.
In the end, though, all that seemed left was for players and coaches on both teams to marvel at what it is Kobe does. All the damn time, it seems, to the point where even "the enemy" seems to believe it pre-ordained.
More Lakers and NBA news below the jump...
Ron Artest is improving, and the hope is he could be on the active roster at some point next week.
John Ireland of ESPN Los Angeles writes how L.A.'s D needs to return to earlier form if the Lakers are going to repeat.
Kobe's opinion of Pau Gasol is not reflected in the current rankings for All Star voting among Western Conference forwards.
Just as it was against Golden State, Lamar Odom was a force after halftime, scoring 16 points.
Phil Jackson, who has generally protected Andrew Bynum through his December slump, again reminded reporters that the kid is still, well, a kid.
If you missed it, here's the newest K Brothers podcast.
Very, very serious.
Gun ownership, says Devin Harris, is very common among NBA players.
The Hawks have filed a formal protest with the league over events late in Wednesday's game against the Cavs, but history says they'll lose.