The Kobe Show: Bryant Scores 26, Dazzles As Lakers Rout Thunder, 101-85

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Appreciating Kobe Doin Work

It’s odd to suggest that we don’t appreciate one of the best players in the league, a four-time NBA champion, lord-knows-how-many-times NBA All-Star, and Olympic Gold Medalist. And it’s true, this documentary was hard to stomach. But don’t let that distract you. Kobe Bryant’s one of the best players in the history of basketball. Let that marinate for a second.

Then watch highlights from last night:

There’s no telling when superstars might get old, so there’s no guarantee that Kobe can keep this up for much longer. But damn. Talk about someone who’s completely mastered their craft. Just… Great.

Like Peyton Manning in football, Jay-Z in life, Pujols in baseball, or… Jimmie Johnson in racing? (Right? That’s a thing right?) Kobe’s had a tumultuous run in the public eye. But beyond all the Lakers controversy, his preening, occasionally nauseating media persona, and the turmoil of his personal life, there’s something pure about Kobe’s brilliance on the court.

H-O-R-S-E shot over the backboard (:15 sec), lefty buzzer-beater (:41 sec), splits the defense for two (1:06), or the stop-and-go to de-pants Thabo Selfalosha (1:23)? Take your pick. And remember: enjoy it while it lasts.

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Silver Screen And Roll: This Wasn't All About Kobe

SB Nation’s Lakers blog, Silver Screen and Roll, was certainly smitten by Kobe Bryant’s efficient performance, but wants to remind everyone that this was a total team domination.

At the end of the day, this was a game that you loved to see because of the defense, the lack of turnovers, and the overall performance by the Lakers at both ends of the court. Their dominance from start to finish was a positive sign, a welcome change from the team that started the season by routinely building leads, giving them away, and then squeaking out close wins.

Of course, Kobe was a big part of the win too, considering he pulled out a ton of nearly impossible shots from his bag of tricks.

But while you love this game for all the improvement you see in the Lakers — their mindset, their commitment at both ends of the floor — you’re going to save it, put it in your library, and re-watch it from time to time because of Kobe. Because this was one of those games. Shots like the ones he hit tonight happen once in a blue moon. He did it four or five times in a single game.

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Kobe Bryant Scores 26 To Lead Lakers In 101-85 Rout Of Thunder

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, yanked down six rebounds and had seven assists as the Los Angeles Lakers used a strong first half to run past Oklahoma City, 101-85, at Staples Center.

Andrew Bynum added 25 points and nine boards for the Lakers, who beat the Thunder franchise for an 11th straight time. Pau Gasol tallied 15 points, seven boards and six assists in the victory, LA's third in a row overall.

"I liked the ability of Pau and Andrew playing together," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "This adds a dimension to our team. Everybody helped each other out tonight."

Kevin Durant ended with 19 points for the Thunder, who failed to gain momentum from a 19-point home win over Washington Friday night. Russell Westbrook chipped in 14 points, seven boards and seven assists for the Thunder, who lost despite tying a franchise mark with 15 blocked shots. Five of them came from Serge Ibaka, who also had 11 points and 13 rebounds.

"We played against the best team in basketball. They have so many dynamic players," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We'll take tonight as a lesson learned."

Bryant and Bynum combined for 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting in the first quarter, as the Lakers took a commanding 35-16 lead after 12 minutes. The Thunder went 6-of-21 from the field in the first quarter.

The Lakers scored 18 in a row during the opening quarter to grab a dominating 21-5 lead with Bynum and Bryant doing most of the damage. It was going so well for the Lakers that at the end of the quarter, Bryant grabbed a loose ball and threw up a quick wild shot with his left hand, with the ball going through the hoop.

The cushion grew to 57-34 at the half and LA led by more than 20 nearly the entire third quarter, carrying a 79-58 difference into the fourth. The Lakers were able to rest their starters most of the final quarter.

The Lakers went just 2-of-14 from three-point range and finished 40.4 percent overall from the field...DJ White had 12 points and James Harden 10 on just 2- of-15 shooting for the Thunder...The last time the Thunder franchise beat the Lakers was November 5, 2006 when the team was located in Seattle.

Via Sports Network.

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