After the loss to the Clippers, Dwight Howard was asked how he was staying positive with the storm of negativity and failure that had dominated the winless Lakers in the preseason and early season. Ever the optimist, Howard responded, “End of the storm, there’s always a rainbow.”
On Sunday night, Dwight Howard and the Lakers got their rainbow. The Lakers won in a wire-to-wire dominating performance over Detroit that featured a home team starving for a win. The Lakers led by as many as 36. Howard was spectacular. He shot 12-14 from the field for 28 points, pulled down 7 rebounds, and swatted away 3 block shots in 33 minutes.
After all was said and done, the Lakers won by 29. It was a beautiful rainbow, and all the Lakers players and coaches beamed with smiles in their post-game interviews.
“We needed a win,” Mike Brown proclaimed at the post-game press conference. Whether he spoke for himself, the coaching staff, or the players, every Laker fan across this great city felt the same way.
The Lakers finally got off the mark due in large part to exploiting the inside with both Howard and Gasol attacking early and often. The game started with Pau Gasol putting in a lay-up and making a 16-foot jump shot to give the Lakers a 4-0 lead. As the first quarter progressed, the message from Mike Brown was clear: the Lakers needed their big men to score.
Kobe played facilitator for the night. With Steve Nash out, Kobe took on the responsibility of passing, rather than shooting. When all was said and done, Bryant had 8 assists, 1 turnover, and only 15 points on 10 field goal attempts.
In contrast, Kobe scored 40 points on 23 attempts and only recorded 1 assist in the loss to the Clippers. Someone needs to create in this offense, and tonight, Kobe played the role of distributer masterfully.
The Laker big men also took to their tasks with enthusiasm. Whereas Gasol and Howard combined for 16 shot attempts against the Clippers, just one game later, the twin towers took 30 shots against Detroit. The two Lakers big men nearly doubled their offensive output despite playing less minutes.
Tonight, the Los Angeles Lakers finally resembled a team instead of a collection of individuals. If that becomes a common occurrence, this season could be filled with beautiful rainbows—or since this is Los Angeles, sunny days.