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Steve Nash returns, Lakers come from 14 down to get overtime win over Warriors

Dec 23, 2012, 2:11 AM EDT

Steve Nash AP

The Lakers played far from their best game of the season on Saturday. But it may end up being one of their most important.

L.A. showed true grit in this one, and playing at full strength for the first time since Oct. 31 with Steve Nash back in the starting lineup, came from 14 down in the fourth quarter to beat a more-than-solid Warriors team in overtime 118-115.

Nash appeared to be all the way back from a non-displaced leg fracture that kept him sidelined for the last 24 games. He played 41 minutes, and finished with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, to go along with 9 assists, three rebounds, and two steals.

While Nash looked more than competent in his return, the play of Kobe Bryant didn’t leave him with a lot of opportunity to run the offense and create the easy looks for his teammates that Lakers fans hoped would be a consistent benefit of the new-look offense.

That may come with time and trust, but on this night, Bryant trusted only himself, and with very mixed results.

Bryant took an incredible 41 shot attempts in under 44 minutes of action. He made just 16, good for a mark of 39 percent. We’ve become numb to these types of performances from Bryant, where he continues to shoot no matter the consequences. On a team with Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, however, and even Nash, who is one of the game’s premier shooters and always does so while making a high percentage, it’s really unconscionable.

It appeared for the first three quarters as if this one would end up as so many have for the Lakers this season — a disappointing loss to a better team, while playing nowhere near the level of the collective talent the team has assembled. Bryant seemed hell-bent on shooting his team out of the game, Howard and Gasol were slow to rotate defensively, and there was no offensive rhythm to be found with Bryant forcing so many tough shots.

The Lakers’ fortunes changed in the fourth quarter, and the fact that Bryant was on the bench during the stretch that it happened was in no way a coincidence.

The Warriors led 90-76 with 10:35 remaining in the fourth, and that’s when a 10-0 run featuring key plays from Jordan Hill and Jodie Meeks sparked the Lakers comeback. When Bryant returned, he immediately scored inside to further cut the lead to two, and it was back and forth the rest of the way in one of the most entertaining contests we’ve seen all season.

The Lakers had a chance to win in regulation, and with the game tied, Nash flipped the ball to Bryant and let him go at it alone in isolation. He forced a tough jumper on the wing that fell short, and we headed to the extra session.

Once in overtime, Bryant continued to gun away, but the shots he made came once he received the ball following the defense choosing to collapse on a Nash-Howard pick-and-roll. A variation of that play should be run virtually every single time down the floor when that trio is in the game, and there’s no reason to believe that it won’t be a staple in the future once the coaching staff gets more time to work things out with Nash back in action.

The Warriors are for real, but you knew that already. Jarrett Jack was a monster off the bench for them with 29 points and 11 assists, and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson did their thing with 20 and 18 points respectively, but each shot a lower percentage than Bryant in the process.

The way this game began for the lakers wasn’t pretty, and was reminiscent of the poor play we’ve seen from this team too often this season. But the way it ended may prove to be something the team can build upon, and with Nash back in the lineup, you have to like their chances.

  1. 32magicman - Dec 23, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    ‘Bryant seemed hell bent on shooting the lakers out of the game’ ….. Time to have a word coach. You are in charge remember.

    • nbascreed - Dec 23, 2012 at 8:52 AM

      Irrespective of the layers (Jeanie, Baby Buss, Kupchak, etc) Daddy Buss is ultimately in charge and he gave his proxy long time ago…keep it 100 baby, you know what it is.

      ktgotgame.com

  2. chargerdillon - Dec 23, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    Winning another game by the skin of their teeth despite Kobe trying to sabotage….love you Kobe but wow….

    Not going to be surprised one bit when Kobe and Melo put up the same amount of points and Lakers lose by 10

  3. scalfor3 - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    He took 41 shots?!?! Damn

  4. abchome - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    Steve Nash returns, Lakers withstand Kobe’s 41 points shots in overtime win over Warriors.

  5. adoombray - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:55 AM

    This whole time, I knew, once Nash got back, they’d be fine.

    And i’m a bitter Suns fan / die hard Laker hater.

    The Lakers have never had a true point guard. D Fish was a glorified 2 guard who hit some clutch shots. “old and washed up” Steve Nash is still 10x the PG they’ve fielded in years. I watched this man be a real leader for my best basketball years.

    I want you to understand that typing this is like my keyboard suddenly sprouted razorblades coated with snake venom.

    The Lakers will be just fine and I would be surprised to not see them in the finals.

  6. livingsacrifice86 - Dec 23, 2012 at 4:07 AM

    41!? Really Kobe?

  7. livingsacrifice86 - Dec 23, 2012 at 4:09 AM

    Lebron had 30 on 20 shots tonight, just to compare players

    • teambringitstrong - Dec 23, 2012 at 4:52 AM

      Stop breathing.

  8. hoodheisman - Dec 23, 2012 at 4:12 AM

    Phil would have benched Kobe, while D’Antoni will just invite Kobe to dinner. Discipline. Lakers could use some.

    • badintent - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:14 AM

      “Oh , yeah, I said the same damn thing.”………………..COACH MIKE BROWN.

  9. rabbdogg - Dec 23, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    article obviously written by a kobe hater..um..they won

  10. borderline1988 - Dec 23, 2012 at 6:53 AM

    41 shots?
    Holy hell. That’s pretty much one shot for every minute he’s on the floor.

    If Meeks and Hill wouldn’t have combined for 26 points (mostly while Kobe was on the bench), the Lakers would probably have lost by double digits.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 23, 2012 at 7:26 AM

      when Kobe let’s you touch the ball you better do something with it……………..

      I don’t care how many shots Kobe takes, that’s his job, just win baby!

  11. fanofevilempire - Dec 23, 2012 at 7:24 AM

    when Kobe let’s you touch the ball you better do something with it……………..

    I don’t care how many shots Kobe takes, that’s his job, just win baby!

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Dec 23, 2012 at 8:32 AM

      It will be a great game on Christmas Day between our team and yours, dude. Win or lose, no hating here against the Knicks!

  12. imforbigblue - Dec 23, 2012 at 7:40 AM

    Kobe is a ball hogging joke

  13. teehov843 - Dec 23, 2012 at 8:08 AM

    Kobe did take too many shots but Dwight was in foul trouble the whole game (He had 4 points going into the 4th qtr) Gasol wasn’t even trying to take shots at all, every time he had the ball he was looking to pass or driving to basket flopping looking pathetic. So what was he supposed to do? Not shoot and watch them lose? Geez! If you watched the game it was clear, they would have lost if he didn’t take those shots…

  14. lemfaxx - Dec 23, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    Thats wat im talking about. He needs to rest to open the chance for the others to excel… But 41 still too much… Please

  15. omniusprime - Dec 23, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Despite the horrible coaching job that forced Kobe to shoot 41 times the Laker players managed to overcome Dumbtoni’s idiocy and win. A total lack of defense is the hallmark of Dumbtoni’s worthless coaching. The Warriors collapsed into a loss, otherwise the Lakers would have lost. Something has to be done to ensure Howard isn’t fouling so much, once again poor coaching forced Dwight to ride the pine for too long.

    Poor coaching also forced Kobe to play over 40 minutes yet again. When will dimwitted pundits realize that it’s the pathetic coaching of Dumbtoni that is the Laker’s worst problem, that and an ancient point guard who can’t play a lick of defense. What’s needed is more passing between Dwight and Pau, Pau is a devastatingly great passer as a big man and the idiot coach Dumbtoni needs to get clued in to that fact.

    Go Kobe!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! We Want Phil!!!

  16. daddyghi - Dec 23, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    get rid of kobe!! ball hugging mutt!! u got howard to build around team anyway.. trade kobe for d-will or cp3!!

  17. money2long - Dec 23, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    i wonder how many ppl were just hoping the lakers would still lose with nash returning.
    i bet they had all the hater-posts ready to aim and fire on this board. they are soo mad the lakers pulled this one out. i can onlyimagine the type of nonsense they would have written. o man. they are upsettt lakers on this one lol. o well, all they have now to work with is kobe’s 41 attempts. haha. have fun with that guys…LA WON.

    • 00maltliquor - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Exactly.

      • loungefly74 - Dec 25, 2012 at 12:23 AM

        ditto.

  18. rjlink1 - Dec 23, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    That game was a gun fight, and Kobe wasn’t sparing any bullets. I was fine with it. Nash creates a LOT of looks for Kobe, so get used to him taking 30 shots a game and shooting below 40%.

    • money2long - Dec 23, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      especially when an undersized guard in jarrett jack is trying to defend you

  19. davidly - Dec 23, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    Alright sportsfans:
    Guess who is on-track to have the lowest FG% in leading the league in scoring since the players wore coke-bottle glasses and had to take bathroom timeouts?

  20. davidly - Dec 23, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    Hey gang:
    LA may very well be in eleventh place in the West, but they just beat the current fifth place holder… on the road, no less. Once they get used to playing together, they’re gonna be the greatest team in the history of sports!!

    • jimeejohnson - Dec 23, 2012 at 9:21 PM

      I think yer stretching the truth.

  21. davidly - Dec 23, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    For those not keeping track of such things:
    Last season Bryant was leading the league in scoring at a .430 clip up until the last week when Durant passed him and finished the season shooting .521.

  22. echech88 - Dec 23, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Big fan of Kobe but this game was hard to watch.

    Curious what his response would be if he was forced to watch the film and realize how bad it looked.

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 23, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      With his ego I doubt he’d see the same thing we see. I’ve been a Lakers fan for over 40 years and I can’t recall another player that just doesn’t seem to get the simple fact that you can’t win any games by yourself.

      Giving up 115 points is a recipe for disaster down the road. Bryant needs to realize that jacking up more than 40 shots, while making anywhere less than half of them, just allows the other team to get out in transition. It exhausts the defense and leads to yet more Bryant shots, a classic negative-feedback loop.

      I thought Bryant was a smarter player than that, but unless D’Antoni grows a spine and insists that Bryant start acting like a team player I can’t see the Lakers going anywhere.

  23. rabbdogg - Dec 23, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    let me try to post this again…since it magically didnt show up the 1st time…no mention of kobe’s 34 points 10 rebounds and 5 assts…because it dont go well with the article’s hate kobe theme

  24. bushido49ers - Dec 23, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Bottom line: Lakers win. Hi Haters! :-D

  25. magicbucs - Dec 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Enjoy this squeezed out win laker fans. You barely beat a young but good warrior team. You needed OT and a lot of mistakes from GS.

    Just remember you’re still in 11th place in the west and a under .500. Oh and only 1 win better than the no superstar orlando magic..
    Good luck playing against the experienced teams.

    • scottheis82 - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      Magicbucs, you should change your name to match your “star” player, BIG BABY cause that what you sound like on this board everytime you post. Get over DH he don’t love you no more, maybe you should focus on the other part of your name, I know I for one enjoyed watching freeman turn the ball over 5x against the “wor.st” defense in the NFL…. God it must suck to be you!!!

      • jimeejohnson - Dec 23, 2012 at 9:23 PM

        That’s the Christmas spirit…in reverse.

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