Friday , Feb , 29 , 2008 Oly Sandor

True Contenders: Kobe Bryant & L.A. Lakers Pass Fifty Percent Rule With Win Over Miami Heat

As a basketball writer, I still use the fifty percent rule. In mismatches, I see if a top team can play an average game and easily handle an also-ran? Basically, can Goliath beat David without breaking a sweat?
Last night, the L.A. Lakers passed my fifty percent rule by punching the clock and beating-up on the lowly Miami Heat at Staples Center …

True Contenders: Kobe Bryant & L.A. Lakers Pass Fifty Percent Rule With Win Over Miami HeatMy AM Take: Watching the Vancouver Grizzlies helped me. Yes, something positive came from Bryant Reeves’ girth, Shareef Abdur-Rahim’s follies, and GM Stu Jackson’s refusal to draft/trade for Steve Nash.

After watching the Grizzlies lose 60 games per season, I became skilled at spotting a contender. I called it the fifty percent rule. If a team could rest their stars, give extra time to their bench, play a so-so game, and comfortably beat Vancouver then they were a contender.

As a basketball writer, I still use the fifty percent rule. In mismatches, I see if top teams can put forth an average effort and still handle league also-rans? Basically, can Goliath beat David without breaking a sweat?

Last night, the L.A. Lakers passed my fifty percent rule by punching the clock and beating-up on the lowly Miami Heat at Staples Center.

Most of the signs were there. The purple-and-gold, after jumping out to an early lead, had some rough stretches, forcing perimeter shots and looking for highlight plays. But from tip-off to the final whistle, the Lakers were in control.

The minutes were pretty typical. Bryant still played most of the game, but reserves like Ronny Turiaf and Sasha Vujacic got extra burn.

Bottom line, L.A. showed their professionalism last night. Most teams can get up for a big game, but the league’s best keep their focus, don’t get distracted, and win mundane outings against cellar-dwellers like Miami.

Fans will remember the Bryant-to-Luke Walton-to-Lamar Odom highlight from last night. It was beautiful, a throwback to the Showtime era of the eighties.

But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. By coasting to a win, the Lakers once again proved they’re a team to be reckoned with.

What are your thoughts on the soaring Lakers? Get at us in the comment box below. The AM Take is Oly’s morning thoughts on the NBA appearing Sunday through Friday on HoopsVibe.com. Errors can be attributed to the time and his need for another coffee.