Kobe Bryant made the first of his two visits to the Houston Rockets court in a winning effort for the home team. The Mamba’s next visit will occur at the end of the season in April.
And even though Kobe Bryant was up to the challenge himself and managed to score 26 points, the remaining Los Angeles Lakers squad weren’t able to follow his lead. The task was even tougher as the Lakers played without undoubtedly their best player: Jordan Clarkson.
In the end, it wasn’t even close as the Rockets held a healthy lead for the entire match and grabbed the W without any troubles. This marked just the first game this season the Houston Rockets were able to relax and give bench players some run in the fourth quarter, something they couldn’t achieve even against the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers.
That said, here are the Three Things We Learned from the Rockets game against the Lakers.
The Houston Rockets are returning to their true potential…. or are they?
J.B. Bickerstaff’s squad finally achieved his first objective this season: returning to .500 with his next step to climb up the standings ladder. Given the NBA’s equilibrium this season (not counting the Warriors) it shouldn’t be an arduous job .
However we must not let the last game fool us as the Lakers didn’t offer any resistance to the Rockets. Therefore there’s not many things we can take for granted from this game.
Obviously closing out a game early was important, but soundly beating one of the worst teams without their best player and a coach who is trying to lose really isn’t much to be proud of. I will note the efforts of a nostalgic but still incredibly prolific Kobe Bryant, who has made his retirement tour something people can actually look forward to seeing the Lakers over.
Kobe Bryant shot 56% tonight with a total of 25 points against the Rockets. https://t.co/bVbS5n1lH4
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 13, 2015
There’s one thing, however, the Rockets fans could be hopeful for, which is….
Rusty D-Mo is slowly getting there!
And it seems we are almost reaching that point:
D-Mo hook! Rockets up 106-91, 5:47 left. pic.twitter.com/3cDWxVQlB4
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 13, 2015
If anything, the Lakers game was useful for D-Mo’s progress. Last night he got some run, made some plays, and while there’s obviously still a long way to go, he’s already getting more comfortable.
Want some assurance of that? D-Mo was perfect from the field last night. He dropped all 4 shots, he was a +16 and he knocked down his three-point shot.
Now, if he could just tweak some aspects in his positioning and lessen the number of turnovers (he had 4), then the Rockets would have that offensive juggernaut they had last year.
The key for Houston to improve in the standings is D-Mo’s rehabilitation and last night, more than ever, Rockets fans should’ve been assured of that.
Kobe Bryant’s Swan Song Tour
In a rather uneventful game as the one last night, I must use this small space to talk about Kobe Bryant.
It was just a priviledge to follow his career throughout the years, even if he continuously drove Rockets fans everywhere crazy with his plays, jumpers and drives to the basket.
I wondered based on last night’s performance, if Kobe couldn’t still be a productive player perhaps coming off the bench and converting himself into a key missing piece for a championship contender (like Paul Pierce), but that’s not part of Bryant’s profile.
Kobe likes to lead, drive his team to the victory, I believe it would be too painful for him to become just a role player or a Sixth man.
Nevertheless, I too bow myself to the Black Mamba, his talents, titles and everything he achieved. Kobe is an example of a committed and dedicated player for all the NBA.
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