With the Los Angeles Lakers completing a 25-point comeback on the road at the New Orleans Hornets and finishing the game on a 20-0 run, the offense and defense looked great at the end of the game. Truthfully, the fourth quarter in New Orleans was one of the few times this season when the Lakers have looked like they have Dwight Howard on the team.
That is not meant to slight Howard.
Howard was such a dominant force in seasons past that he was far and away considered the best defensive player in basketball. For a fourth quarter, he looked like himself.
The way Kobe Bryant seems to go into attack mode and play incredible every night, Howard did that when he led the charge defensively.
“Well, we decided to play defense in the fourth quarter,” Bryant responded as to how the Lakers won the game. “We both did what we were supposed to do. I led the charge offensively; [Howard] led us defensively.”
Although Howard and Bryant deserve the applause, Jodie Meeks was also a key contributor with five 3-pointers in the game. Veteran point guard Steve Nash tried to make sense of the finish, and his explanation seemed to make sense.
“I thought Dwight was great defensively,” Nash said after the game. “I thought that Jodie making some shots really opened the court for Kobe, and Kobe was phenomenal.”
Lakers’ coach Mike D’Antoni was pleased with the win even if LA was practically sleep walking for the entire first half.
“We need to play this way, but we need to play four quarters this way,” D’Antoni said after the game.
Both Metta World Peace and Dwight Howard supported the coach’s words and were optimistic of the team’s ability to derive meaning from the improbable win.
“(The win is) definitely something we can build on,” World Peace said after the game.
All season long, the Lakers' defense has been missing in action. On Wednesday, the defense appeared in the fourth quarter, and the Lakers liked what they saw.
“We have to build off this and play this way every night,” Howard reiterated after the game. “We can do it.”