On a night when Kobe Bryant took another step up the ladder of statistical basketball immortality, it was Louis Williams who played the role of hoops hero as the Sixers' reserve guard scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter in the Sixers 95-90 win over the Lakers Monday night in Philadelphia.
As Williams went on a rampage in winning time, Kobe hiccuped over and over again down the stretch, dominating his team's offense late in the game and firing brick and brick for a 1-10 shooting fourth quarter.
Kobe started hot, shooting 8-14 for 24 first half points and, for a stretch, there was no shot Kobe wasn't attempting -- and making. But just as the first half was the hot side, the second half proved to be a very cold, cold place for the new No. 5 all-time scorer in NBA history.
In that 1-10 fourth quarter for Kobe, he attempted six consecutive Laker shots inside the last three minutes and seven of eight overall, a streak broken only by Pau Gasol's attempted tip of a Kobe miss. Of those seven, Kobe made only one against a variety of Sixers defenders that included mainly Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner.
While Kobe's frozen ropes seemed like they would never end for Laker fans, Williams' run was quick and through the heart of Los Angeles' defense. Lou made seven baskets in the game, and four came in the final four minutes at the most clutch of times:
86-81, Lakers -- Williams hits a three to make it 86-84, Lakers.
88-86, Lakers -- Williams makes a two, making it 88-88.
88-88 -- Williams makes another three, giving Philly a 91-88 lead.
91-88, Sixers -- Williams makes a two, putting the Sixers up 93-88, the final victory margin of five.
Also for Los Angeles Andrew Bynum posted his second 20-point, 20-rebound game of the year, making him only the second player in the league to have multiple 20-20s this season (Dwight Howard is the other).
Kobe passed Shaquille O'Neal for the fifth slot on the all-time NBA scoring list ending the night with 28,601 for his career total. He now puts Wilt Chamberlain in his sights for No. 4 on the list, 2,818 points away.
Silver Screen and Roll calls out the Lakers' collective inability to close out close games:
Late game execution continues hurt this Lakers team. Some nights Kobe tries to take over to the detriment of the team. Other nights he looks to facilitate and no one steps up. Tonight he got very good looks and simply failed to convert. Whatever the reasons, the Lakers seem to fall apart in close games, especially on offense. Against a playoff caliber opponent, blowouts are hard to come by. A team has to be able to win close grind-it-out games in the playoffs to win a title. The Lakers haven't shown any ability to do that this season.
At Liberty Ballers, Jordan Sams is relieved to win a game that, according to the stats, they probably should not have won::
What's even more shocking than Lou out-dueling Kobe down the stretch is, the Sixers won a game where they allowed an obscene 21 offensive rebounds and were out-rebounded in total, 55 to 30. Normally when a team is out-rebounded by 25 in the NBA, they're blown out, plain and simple (the last time the Sixers won when out-rebounded by 25 was 1994), but eight timely threes and a brilliant 27:4 assist-to-turnover ratio allowed the Sixers to stay within striking distance for Williams.