Tonight’s game for the Wizards against the Lakers had two special meanings, a sold out Verizon Center and the rematch of Kobe vs. Gilbert… Yep it was a classic heavyweight battle, but in the end Kobe Bryant emerged victorious after Gilbert torched him and the Lakers for 60 points the last time they faced each other at the Staples Center.
Bryant, who finished the game with 39 points and times during the game where he took total control and shot at will agains the Wizards defense, who without Antawn Jamison struggled both offensively and defensively againt players such as Bryant and Lamar Odom ( 19 points, 11 rebounds).
“We have yet to prove that we can play without Antawn,” Jordan said. “We didn’t have the leadership on the floor. I’m not faulting our effort or our purpose for playing hard but we didn’t play together and we didn’t play smart.”
Washington’s two all-stars and two bookends of this team, Arenas and Caron Butler, shot a dismal 14 of 47 from the field, while all five Los Angeles starters scored in double figures.
Arenas blamed his lackluster performance on not being his usual self before the game and getting into his pre-game joking mode.
“It’s not working,” Arenas said. “No smiling, no talking, just listening to music. I’m usually having fun. I’m out here telling jokes, listening to jokes, running around, punching on people, the usual. It was one of those times I was trying to focus in, but it backfired. Lesson learned.”
Washington had this game well under control when they headed to the locker room trailing only by four, 54-50, but the hot shooting of Odom and Smush Parker, 20 points, just was a bit too much for the Wizards and Kobe Bryant left the floor winning the rematch, which most players felt they might have gotten caught up in tonight.
“We got caught up in the rematch,” said Jarvis Hayes, who scored five points starting in Jamison’s spot. “We were feeling this game since last week. I think we’ll be fine now that we got this game out of our system.”