But now a week has passed for the Lakers and they have played nothing but road games without Bynum. They have gone 4-0 with wins against the Knicks (Kobe's 61), Raptors, Celtics, and Cavaliers and one thing that I have seen in these games is that the Lakers are playing more as a cohesive unit. Kobe's performance against Monday has been well documented and Toronto was by far the weakest opponent they played this week.
On Thursday, the Lakers showed a ton of moxie fighting back against the defending champs. Despite all the "Beat LA" chants, Los Angeles was able to stay in the fight. Pau Gasol had 24 points and 14 rebounds while Bryant scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. They did everything opposite than last year in June when they played the Celtics. Scored points in the paint, took care of the ball, weren't outhustled and made sure that whenever the Celtics went on an 7-0 run it didn't turn into a 15-2 run.
Sunday's game against the Cavs impressed me the most. Cleveland was 23-0 coming into the game and in my opinion were the best team in the Eastern Conference. With Bryant playing at about 70% with flu like symptoms he only scored 19 points. The Lakers shut down Lebron James though making sure whenever he drove down the lane, there was a purple jersey that met him. He scored 22 points on just 5-20 shooting but did have 8 rebounds and 12 assists. After being down 10 at halftime, the Lakers outscored Cleveland by 20 in the 2nd half to secure the win.
I've been mostly thrilled with the play of Lamar Odom in the past two games who is averaging 24 points and 11.5 rebounds. He is showing a sense of aggressiveness since coming back into the starting lineup that he's never shown in gold and purple. He's got to keep it up for the entire season if his team wants to raise the championship trophy.