I would like to start by just saying how proud I was to see the Los Angeles Lakers manage to corral a victory against the San Antonio Spurs. It was rather nice to see the Lakers gather themselves up, and play as a cohesive unit, both offensively and defensively.
However, there were a few things about this game that really stood out as the catalysts to their victory. Obviously, Dwight Howard’s excellent game made a huge impact on the game, and was critical for the win. However, everyone expected Howard to have an excellent game, but not many anticipated the types of performances Steve Blake and Antawn Jamison had.
Clearly, the absence of Kobe Bryant was going to severely effect the Lakers offense, especially considering his 27 points per game average. So the question that we have to consider is, who will makeup those points?
Well, Blake and Jamison answered the call for the evening. Blake went an amazing 8-16 with 23 points, and Jamison contributed a solid 15 points off the bench. Now, I don’t expect Blake to score like that every time he steps on the court post Bryant’s injury, but this game seems like a pretty good indication that Blake can put up an easy 18 a game come playoffs time.
As for Jamison, I do expect him to be able score 15 off the bench. Yes that is asking a lot, but the Lakers’ opponents will have to focus their attention on Pau Gasol and Howard in the post, which can easily free up Jamison for a couple easy garbage buckets.
It’s tough to definitively say that the Lakers can make waves in the playoffs without Bryant, but if they manage to keep playing like how they did against San Antonio, then who knows what could happen.