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Three Stars of the Night: Kobe Bryant gets some help

Jan 16, 2013, 2:29 AM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard AP

Regardless of how you feel about Kobe Bryant, you have to admit that he’s doing something pretty incredible this season. How many players in their 17th NBA season average nearly 30 points a game on career-best efficiency numbers? It’s unprecedented.

Problem is, Kobe hasn’t been getting an awful lot of help offensively, and he’s nowhere near the defender he once was. But if you’re looking for a non-Earl Clark related glimmer of hope for the Lakers, look to the stars.

Third Star: Ty Lawson – (24 points, 12 assists)

The primary concern with the Nuggets is that they don’t have a late game scorer, but you would never know it watching Ty Lawson tonight. Lawson was brilliant late in the fourth quarter, pouring in Denver’s last eight points to help keep the Blazers temporarily at bay. Although the Blazers tapped into some more Wes Matthews magic with a late 3-pointer to tie it, Lawson played excellent individual defense on a potential game-winning attempt from Damian Lillard. In overtime, Lawson picked up right where he left off, drilling a jumper and creating open looks for others in Denver’s sixth straight win.

Second Star: Kobe Bryant – (31 points, 6 assists)

While we’re used to this sort of offensive brilliance, the on-ball pressure Bryant put on Brandon Jennings seemed to spark the Lakers defensively. Although he still has lapses off the ball, Bryant doesn’t take kindly to being directly challenged. Putting him on ballhandlers plays to his competitive nature, and against a team that trots out offensively inept players like Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, it can simultaneously accomplish the goal of hiding Steve Nash. Bryant’s locked in effort defensively (Jennings was 4-for-14) seemed to trickle over to his offensive play, where he made more of an effort to get his teammates involved right off the bat.

First Star: Dwight Howard – (31 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks)

Although Milwaukee is loaded with shot blockers, they lack the bulk up front to deal with a monster like Howard — even if he isn’t at full strength. Howard bullied his way to good position all night and set up shop around the rim fairly easily, putting in little drop passes from Bryant and Steve Nash with ease. Some nights it will be as easy as that offensively, but it’s the defensive side of the ball where the Lakers really need Howard to be a star. Even though the Lakers let up 21 offensive rebounds as a team, Howard contested putbacks and altered a ton of shots. The Bucks shot just 35.8 percent from the field with 34 points in the paint, which are numbers more in line with what you’d expect from a Howard-led defense. If Howard isn’t drawn away from the rim defending pick and rolls or players with decent mid-range jumpers, he can still be a force.

  1. jerdogthompson - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    Laker love is alive and well…..,,,,

    Forget about the other team, they suck. They don’t even have CP3.

    What’s that? Breaking news?

    Clippers thrash the rockets on a back to back after annihilating Memphis at home holding both teams to a season low scoring effort?

    That’s nothing says James “hall of fame, show time, Worthy”. It’s ALL ABOUT KOBE. Whatchoo talkin bout Clippers. We got 16, I mean 17 wins or is that Championships? I get confused. Tito bring me some tissue.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:40 AM

      @jerdog: LOL!!!

    • rtwoj - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      Cute… Notice your Thumbs Ups and Thumbs Down?

  2. BigBeachBall - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:03 AM

    Championship

    • saint1997 - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:57 AM

      try getting to the playoffs first. baby steps

  3. sperminat0r - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:15 AM

    The Lakers era has been officially over…..move over Lakers…and say hello to the CLIPPERS! For the next several years, the clippers will DOMINATE the lakers.

  4. jnoah13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:14 AM

    ‘what have you done for me lately’.

    hold on to the past while you can, that current record will maybe break into your ‘reality’ one of these days. 73-9….please.

  5. skids003 - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    Actually, he’s getting a lot more open shots, maybe Nash should get a little credit?

  6. dannymac17 - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    Nothing about the Clippers demoralizing win over the Rockets on their court on a back to back after running the Grizz out their own building?

    Are you serious right now?

    You highlight a win over the Bucks in LA?

    This blog is mind boggling.

    • rtwoj - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      You DO realize that there are several (hey, who knows maybe HUNDREDS) of Clipper blogs on the “interweb”, right?? You don’t HAVE to read this blog….

  7. losanginsight - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    No one cares about flop city. They are the adopted step child here in LA. They need to win back to back to back Rings to get any respect in LA let alone the rest of the USA. Baby steps for flop city. Need to crawl before you walk. Meanwhile, the Lakers on a mission for #17 and thats Rings.. Most cities can not comprehend what that means or how that feels like.

    • dannymac17 - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Mission for #17?

      Jesus christ, how delusional can you get?

      Your team is full of old over rated players.

      whoopty doo

  8. paulhargis53 - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Danny: lakerluver IS old enough to have adult children( pity he found someone he could reproduce with) maybe that clown is one of them?

  9. losanginsight - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    This isn’t an 60 game * season like last year when the NBA gave lebron a ring. It’s a normal season which is 82 games long. Laker fans are not delusional. We have higher expectations for our Lakers because they have the banners to prove it. From now on NBC sports talk should require bloggers to put the city they are from when they post. There are too many people on here from Utah, Milwaukee, Indiana, and other cities that never have a shot to win a Ring, or 17, and hope that the Lakers don’t have to make Staples Center taller to fit more banners. Also keep in mind that in 2 years the Lakers will have 50 million + in cap space. Check out the FA list that year. Lakers never rebuild, Only reload.
    #17

  10. paulhargis53 - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    What a dope! I’m a Celtics fan and I’m not living in the New England area. I don’t even live on the East coast. What the hell does where you live have to do with rooting interests? Are you 12?

    You can wipe your a** with your 16 banners. The Celtics have 17 and I have yet to see a Celtics fan wave them in any other teams face. Only to remind lakers fans that 17>16 when they spout off.

    The lakers have done nothing in the playoffs the last 2 years. They do no better than the 8th seed(highly unlikely they get it) this year with a 1st round exit.

    They are another year older next year. So that’s 4 years without sniffing a title. Your old banners are not relevant.

    p.s. You aren’t getting crap for Pau unless you take crap in return. The lakers have no other worthwhile assets.
    It’s a good bet Howard bolts after this season too. Even if he stays, who cares?

    Kobe was the drawing card for others to want to play there.He’s done after next year, even if he’s not, he will be close to 36.

    Dummy, what you don’t get is that like Howard who can make the max in L.A., those free agents can get the max from their own teams. MOST guys aren’t leaving $ on the table. You can’t do sign and trades, you have no assets after next year. Keep trading those #1,picks away too. Keep dreaming, the landscape of the NBA changed with the last collective bargaining. You lakers fans refusal to comprehend this and your belief that its,status quo is comical. This year was the last best shot for them for awhile and they blew it.

  11. jerdogthompson - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Losanginsight,

    Perhaps someone can fact check this but as far as I know the Minnesota Lakers won 5 of those 16. There were freaking 12 teams in the league at that time. A 1 in 12 chance compared to today. Keep dusting off those trophies cause I GUARANTEE you will squander in mediocrity for the next 4-5 years. GUARANTEED.

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