Unselfish Kobe Bryant Reminds Steve Nash of Magic Johnson

by January 28, 2013

The Los Angeles Lakers are on a two-game winning streak, thanks in large part to Kobe Bryant’s passing and playmaking. Steve Nash told reporters after last night’s upset win over the visiting OKC Thunder that Kobe’s 28 assists over the past two games brought back memories of Magic Johnson. Per the LA Times: “In the latest proof that wins equal happiness, Dwight Howard and Bryant embraced near midcourt in the final seconds. A victory never seemed so important for a team that ‘improved’ to 19-25. The Thunder came in with the NBA’s best record (34-10). ‘It feels good to finally beat a team that’s worth a sh*t.’ Bryant said later. Where to begin? With Bryant, as usual. He had 14 assists in a second consecutive game, continuing his approach that began two days earlier in a breezy victory over Utah. He also had 21 points, nine rebounds and only three turnovers, none in the second half. ‘Frankly, Kobe reminds me a little bit of Magic Johnson the way he’s playing right now,’ Nash said. ‘He’s controlling the game.’ Bryant had this many assists over two games only one other time: December 2002, when he posted back-to-back 14s against Utah and Golden State. The context here couldn’t be greater. Bryant is stealing the role from the player who won two league most-valuable-player awards under Coach Mike D’Antoni’s system in Phoenix. And the gamble couldn’t be bigger. The Lakers, desperate for momentum, are still four games out of a playoff spot despite the victory. Numerous Lakers players have complained about not getting enough touches, minutes, whatever, this season. Nash won’t whine about not getting enough assists. ‘I welcome this,’ he said. ‘We’re so much better this way regardless of how many opportunities I get to make plays. At this stage of my career, I’m all-in as far as trying to figure this out, how we can all be better together. It is a big difference for me and a big change, and it’s something that I have to continue to adjust to. Very rarely did I get the ball to catch and shoot in my career … but I’m getting a good rhythm and I think I’m feeling more comfortable doing it.'”