The Lakers kicked off the second half of the season in fine form Wednesday night at Staples, easily knocking off a Kevin Love-less Minnesota squad 104-85. After suffering a concussion in Sunday's All-Star Game, Kobe Bryant was not only cleared to play, but apparently cleared to play very, very well. 31 points, plus seven boards and eight dimes, all while wearing a mask to protect his broken nose.
No surprise, his game was a major topic of conversation in tonight's edition of Lakers Late Night, along with...
Bryant's comments about Miami's Dwyane Wade, saying he doesn't believe there was any malicious intent behind Wade's foul in the ASG. Surely that will diffuse any ill will towards D-Wade this weekend when the Heat come to town! (#sarcasm)
good work from Metta World Peace, who chipped in with five assists and eight points in 24 minutes. This is the sort of quietly effective game the Lakers need from him, in contrast to some of the loudly ineffective performances he's delivered this year.
the greatest sports story of the year: The artist formerly known as Clipper Darrell vs. the Clippers.
Click below for more postgame video, from Bryant, Pau Gasol, Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, and Andrew Bynum.
Bryant, on playing with a concussion in the All-Star Game, and his neck injury:
Bryant, on playing with the mask:
Bryant, on the experience of suffering a head injury:
Bynum on his knee, Kobe's performance and the win over Minnesota:
Gasol, on the Minnesota win and Kobe's performance:
Blake on Kobe's performance: