When Kobe Bryant tallies zero assists en route to an L.A. Lakers loss, the proletariat screeches. That's what happened on Sunday, when the Boston Celtics embarrassed the Lakers at Staples Center; Kobe had 41 points and a nary a set-up. Kobe typically then tries to make an example of the squealing whiners by overpassing in his next game, deferring to his teammates to a fault.
The problem with this diabolical plan is that Kobe's teammates are really freaking good, and when he defers to them the Lakers' offense typically looks better. That was the case Tuesday night, as L.A. scorched to a 114-106 overtime win against the Houston Rockets. Kobe had 32 points and 11 assists in the victory. Four of the assists were to Pau Gasol, and another four went to Lamar Odom, starting in place of dinged-up Andrew Bynum.
Of course, the Lakers still have problems defensively, and that was exacerbated by Bynum's absence. Kevin Martin, for example, scored 30 points on 8-15 shooting, and Luis Scola racked up 24 points and 15 rebounds. Houston had 16 offensive rebounds, and while L.A. had 16 of their own, defensive rebounding remains a concern for the Lakers.
But Bryant's 11 assists in a win will carry the largest biggest, only amplifying those calls of "selfish!" and "jerkwad!" when Kobe goes on shooting binges in Laker losses.