(Photo via journalstar.com)
Thursday’s night game had a special feel to it, with it being a nationally televised game and possibly being one of the last few times we’ll get to see both all-time greats Kobe Bryant and Lebron James on the same court. Both players put on a show: Bryant set a career high with 17 assists but it was James with his game high 36 points that got the 109-102 win. Bryant explained why he cherishes these moments following the game.
“If we were contending for a championship, I’d be my same moody self,” Bryant said. “But right now, I tend to have a little more perspective, knowing I really won’t get a chance to play against him for much longer. So you want to enjoy it.”
James also provided his thoughts on sharing the floor with Bryant for one of the last few times in his career.
It’s always fun, a pleasure,” James said. “It’s two of the best competitors this game has probably ever seen, and to be on the same floor with him, somebody I looked up to when I was a child growing up, seeing him go straight from high school to the NBA, it’s fun, it’s great. I hated him being out of the NBA last year because of injury, and it’s fun having him back.”
As for the game, it was closely contested until the last few minutes where the James and the Cavs finally pulled away.
Both teams shot well from the field but the difference in the game was the rebounding edge by the Cavs, especially on the offensive end. The Cavs out rebounded the Lakers 40 to 35 and 13 to 8 on the offensive glass. The Cavs took advantage of the extra possessions they earned by getting to the free throw line, 36 times to the Lakers 23 attempts.
What really set the two teams apart is that one team had a superstar closer to his prime and another team with a superstar nearing the end of his career. James carried the Cavs, scoring 36 points, getting to the line 13 times and connecting on 8 of his free throws. James also added 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals for a well-rounded game.
Bryant no longer being the offensive shot maker he was to start the season as a means of saving his legs was effective in setting up his teammates, registering a new career high with 17 assists, toppling his old mark of 15 which he set way back in 2002. Bryant also added 19 points on 7 for 14 from the field.
Jordan Hill led the Lakers in scoring with 20 points and Nick Young came in off the bench to score 14, but no other Laker scored in double figures.
The loss drops the Lakers record to 12-28 which ranks them 14th in the Western Conference. Sadly, with the Lakers’ season circling down the drain and nearly reaching the halfway mark we start to monitor the Lakers position in the draft lottery and percentage chance of nabbing the top pick. The following graph is from tankathon.com:
The Lakers fly to Utah to take on the Jazz on Friday for the 2nd game of a back to back. Kobe Bryant will sit this game out to rest.