Friday , Apr , 27 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Potential Realized: Kobe Bryant & The Lakers Win Game 3

This is how it should be. There was no debate about Kobe the Facilitator or Kobe the Scorer. And there was no official tally of how many times Kobe shot and how many times Kobe passed. Kobe Bryant just played basketball. His game flowed. His instincts were dead on. Sometimes he deferred to teammates. Sometimes he asserted himself.

This is how it should be. There was no debate about Kobe the Facilitator or Kobe the Scorer. And there was no official tally of how many times Kobe shot and how many times Kobe passed.

Kobe Bryant just played basketball. His game flowed. His instincts were dead on. Sometimes he deferred to teammates. Sometimes he asserted himself.

Everything he did worked out. And a lot of the things his teammates did worked out, too.

The score is what we remember in the short term. Los Angeles 95. Phoenix 89. The Suns still lead the series 2-1.

The potential of the Lakers is what we should remember in the long-term. Game 3 proved that Los Angeles could, with a few changes, be a very good basketball team.

Yes, that’s right. They could be very good. Kobe Bryant, when he strikes the right balance between facilitator and scorer, is the best player in the world-maybe ever. Lamar Odom is a wonderful blending star, capable of scoring, rebounding, and passing. Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum have the physical gifts to dominate the low block. And Luke Walton is a solid all-round player.

Sure, many pieces are missing. But many pieces are in place. The Lakers could conceivably contend next season. There’s potential with this group.

And after game one and two, potential has to count for something. It should be enough to silence the Kobe-haters and Laker-critics.

But the doubters won’t stay silent for long. They never do with Bryant. He’s too polarizing of a person and player.

So enjoy tonight Laker-nation. It was pretty close to perfect. And, for once, it seemed that Kobe and the Lakers just focused on playing basketball. That may have been the best part.

Click here to read more of Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog. Oly can be reached at olysandor@hoopsvibe.com