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Lakers see difference in game with Nash
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On December 25, 2012 @ 10:00 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES — With the way Kobe Bryant was gushing about what it’s like to play next to the great Steve Nash after the Los Angeles Lakers 100-94 win vs. the New York Knicks on Tuesday, it was natural to wonder if Bryant ever caught himself watching his fellow future Hall of Famer with admiration.
“I ain’t watching (expletive),” Bryant said with a laugh as he sat at his locker. “I’m looking to get open.”
It’s only two games with Nash and the Lakers at full strength, but what a difference a two-time MVP makes. Nash, who returned to hit a game-winner at Golden State on Saturday after being out since Oct. 31 with a left leg injury, followed up that 12-point, nine-assist outing with a 16-point, 11-assist effort in which his poise and presence were major factors late against the Knicks. One thing is clear already: Nash changes everything for Bryant and his teammates.
After so many years spent either being asked to carry too much of the offensive load or doing it of his own, Bryant finds himself with luxuries he has never had before. The options are many, chief among them a pick-and-roll with Nash and center Dwight Howard that has Bryant often left alone – no typo there – on the wing. And that, far more than a five-game winning streak that won’t mean much if this season goes South again, is the part that should still scare Lakers’ foes the league over.
“I get a rebound (and) I’m looking for him, running the floor,” Bryant explained afterward. “If he’s penetrating or whatever, I’m looking for an angle to back-cut somebody, or coming off a screen, I’m always just looking for crevices to get open because I know he’ll find you.”
For all the attention paid to the Bryant-Howard pairing and all its similarities to the Bryant-Shaquille O’Neal days of old, Bryant-Nash is where it starts for the Lakers.
“It’s like (Michael) Jordan having (John) Stockton, or (Scottie) Pippen, (a player who) can facilitate and allows him to do what he does. I haven’t had that throughout my career,” Bryant said. “I’ve … [For more on Lakers see a difference in their game with Steve Nash, click here.]
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