Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Kobe with the Lake Show
Kobe Bryant's reputation is one of a scorer. He leads the league in scoring in the early part of the season. Mike D'Antoni's offense though is about moving the ball and running the pick and roll. Bryant will still have his isolation sets, but if he wants to be more involved in the offense he is going to have to be able to pass the ball effectively.
So when Bryant records a triple double like he did Sunday night it probably made Mike D'Antoni and the Steves, presumably watching the game from a training table in the Lakers locker room, very very happy.
Bryant scored 22 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out 11 assists in the Lakers' 119-108 win over the Rockets on Sunday night. It was Bryant's 18th career triple double.
More importantly for Los Angeles is the team looks a lot looser and freer offensively than they ever did under Mike Brown. Kobe can be a playmaker because players seem so much more motivated to play. The offense is flowing so much smoother now. Dwight Howard getting healthier helps too. But each player seems to understand his role in the offense a lot better.
And if Bryant has discovered how to be a playmaker and distributor in his final act… look out.
2: Durant's turn
Kevin Durant's scoring numbers are down this season. The assumed reason is that Durant is trying to be more of a playmaker and free up some scoring space for his partner in crime, Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook has provided a ton of scoring punch for Oklahoma City already this year and Durant can pour in points when he needs to. All that work appears to be paying off as Durant recorded his first triple double of his young career Sunday night in a 119-109 win over the Warriors.
Durant scored 25 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out a career-high 10 assists in the runaway win for Oklahoma City. He committed only two turnovers in the game.
This new playmaking side to Durant has enabled Westbrook to take over the offense a bit more. He scored 30 points on 22 shots and added seven assists. If Durant can take more of the playmaking load, then Oklahoma City could find a lot more offensive balance and really be a dangerous team.
Surprise! It's DeMarcus
Damian Lillard can fly
Dwight Howard starts and finishes the break
4: Line of the Night: Greg Monroe 20 points, 13 rebounds
Greg Monroe continues to put in some fantastic work for the Pistons despite the team's poor start. Monroe made 8 of his 11 shots in pacing the Pistons to their second win of the year in a 103-83 blowout win over the Celtics. Monroe is averaging 16.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game so far this year. Both would be career highs.
5: You can quote me on that
We’re playing for something, guys. We’re trying to stay at the top, we’re trying to win our division and host the first round [of the playoffs] at home. And we got to win at home. Whoever comes in here, we got to make sure they go somewhere else looking for a ‘W.’
Last year was such a debacle, I’d rather not talk about that for the rest of my life.