The Los Angeles Lakers have just officially entered the conversation as the best team in the NBA.
In their primetime Friday night matchup against the Denver Nuggets on ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers racked up an impressive 71 points in just the first half. Just a game before, they only tallied 77 total points against the Indian Pacers which occurred in Kobe's "Flu Game" where he amassed 40 points, 10 rebounds, (yes there were also 10 turnovers).
When the Lakers looked like they were not able to get the win against Indiana, Kobe hit another one of his patented clutch jumpers.
With under a minute remaining, the Lakers trailed 77-74 and the five time champion dribbled to the right corner of the court and raised for a three which gave him his 40.
After tying up the game at 77, George Hill had a lay-up for the ages and the english he put on that ball was truly something special to see.
Kobe carried his team to the brink of a win when he was a game-time decision due to flu-like symptoms, but it was not enough. By scoring over half of his team's points for the eighth time in his career, Kobe was not able to get a win against the talented Pacers.
It was evident that something was going to have to change. The offense needs to be clicking more and players need to be picking there spots better offensively and moving without the ball.
With a team like the Lakers and with their personnel they are trying to implement D'Antoni's offense with, spacing is the most crucial and important aspect of the game.
And that is exactly what happened on Friday night! They played selfless and made sure Kobe could take a ride on the bench's back for once. The Lakers jumped out to a hot start with their superstar Dwight Howard scoring an easy 16 points in the first quarter. Kobe did not even take a shot until after halfway through the first. In the second frame, the Lakers did not miss a beat and Jodi Meeks shot 5-6 from the three-point stripe scoring 15 points.
The Lakers offense was clicking on all cylinders and Kobe was the maestro leading the charge of the purple and gold.
Antwan Jamison however, was the star of the game.
Mr. Jamison, this was your Lakers welcome out party. We thought it happened in Dallas when you registered superb numbers for a substitute with 19 points and 15 rebounds. But we obviously forgot how great you were just last season. You are a career 19.3 points per game scorer, and last year you were the second best offensive weapon behind Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving's 17.7 with 17.2 points per game.
On Friday, the Lakers surged in bunches. There truly was an exquisite offensive showcase to behold, and against the defensively talented Nuggets no less. Dwight attacked the rim first with his rapid 16 points and 'Twan had 14 seamless buckets within the flow of the offense. Meeks soon followed with the 15 points of his own in the second quarter and the Lakers saw their lead balloon to 71-57.
Jamison took over the second half and finished the game with a stunning 33 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block and 1 steal. Antwan, may we give you a formal welcome to Los Angles.
Since Jamison took over the game, Howard's impressive line, which was ultimately silent, of 28 points, 20 rebounds and 3 blocks, was not the story.
The Lakers bench has now arrived. Jamison's 33 and Meek's 21 were examples of how explosive this team's second unit can be, even with Blake and Nash off the court with injuries.
This D'Antoni version of the Lakers will never be self actualized until Steve Nash returns from his awekward leg fracture and becomes the orchestrator of the greatest opera and "show" on the hardwood; Nash will bring back "Showtime" to Los Angeles.
Steve Nash and D'Antoni have a sort of symbiotic relationship with regards to their overall offensive philosophy and Nash is the oil for which D'Antoni is to paint his canvas.
Nash is the best player for D'Antoni's system and Nash knows it. Nash is a cerebral player, as well is Gasol, and Kobe is the most cerebral player of them all. Issues with regards on how to intregrate Pau in the offense is the silliest thing this side of ________ add silly, wild, and ridiculous remark here.
Gasol is one of the best players on the planet, as seen by his dominant play over the world in national competition, whether it be in the Olympics or a Worlds Championship.
He has two titles while being the second best player on the team and the rumors of him being traded for other a package or another star is ridiculous and based off false logic.
Once Nash takes control of the reigns, he will make sure the pace is right for Pau to succeed and concentrate on getting him easy lay-ups around the basket and fantastic opportunities off the pick and roll.
All Gasol needs to do is get into a rhythm, nothing a great point guard can't handle.
The beauty is that the Princeton offense was the worst thing that could have ever have happened to this band of Lakers and the demise of Mike Brown was sufficient evidence of that fact. Eleven-time champion Phil Jackson should have taken over, but the Lakers brass chose their Steve Nash angle, or Showtime, instead of reverting back to a formula which yielded five championships in a decade. This team could have been perfect with the triangle with Kobe, young Shaq, in Howard, and the rest of the players on the roster. Pau is fantastic in the triangle due to his passing skills and his cerebral feel for the game.
My opinion is that the Lakers forsook a chance at another three-peat or even more if the hired Jackson, because he has proven such so in the past. He has three separate 3-peats with Jordan in Chicago and one in L.A. but also had a pair of back-to-back titles after returning from retirement.
Dantoni may get one in LA while Nash is still at his peak, or near it. But they will never be as good as they would have been if Jackson took control of Lakerland.
But Jim Buss wants Showtime back in LA, as well as get out of the shadow of his father while begining to create his own legacy.
With D'Antoni at the helm, and Kobe Bryant having the most efficient offensive year of his career, shooting 50 percent from the field, 42 percent from three, and 87 percent from the free throw line, the Lakers are looking primed to make some serious noise as we enter the months of deep winter.
Kobe is leading the league in scoring in his 17th season and you can see the hunger in his eyes for that sixth ring.
Until Nash returns, the Lakers just need to get in shape, because Showtime is going to take the NBA by storm.
Follow Misha Hyman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/justalkinsports