Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers plays hard defense on Shawn Marion of the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on November 24, 2012 in Dallas, Texas.
In Saturday's win against Dallas, the Los Angeles Lakers, once again, calmed the frustrated masses of fans.
The Lakers achieved balance on offense, played with energy on defense, and the bench provided a meaningful contribution. The Lakers put in a strong performance on both ends of the floor for the first half, and the game was out of reach from that point on.
The 115-89 win over Dallas reminded fans how good this team can be.
On the night, the Lakers showed offensive balance. Four of the five starters were in double figures, and no Laker attempted more than 11 shots. Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, and Antawn Jamison all scored 19 points to lead the team in scoring. The Lakers offense shared the ball and more than half of the Lakers' baskets were assisted.
For the first time this season, the Lakers defense held the opposition to under 90 points in an away game. The Lakers muzzled the Mavericks at 38 points for the first half. That tied a season-low at home for Dallas. The Lakers held Dallas to 37 percent on the night, and the energy and effort was much better for every Los Angeles Laker.
Also, for the second night in a row, Jamison resembled the sixth-man the Lakers expected at the start of the season. Jamison achieved a double-double before the half and ended up with 19 points on 7-11 shooting. Jamison performed significantly better since seeing more time at the power forward position the last two games. His slashing and cutting created easy baskets for the visitors.
The bench also saw positive contribution from Jodie Meeks, who was also able to finally find some rhythm the last three games. Meeks was one of six Lakers players to score in double figures against the Mavericks, and the sharp shooter shot 50 percent from the field over the past three games. When Darius Morris eventually returns to the bench, Meeks and Jamison should combine with the young point guard to give the Lakers some potent scoring contributions off the bench.
With the Lakers utilizing all options on the court, playing hard on defense, and getting a steady contribution from the bench, this team is showing signs of being as good on the court as it looks on paper. Now, the goal is to consistently match this level of effort.
Perhaps, World Peace said it best after the game, “It’s not about being the best player; it’s about being the best team.”