Better off

mini-bugA few days ago I declared that I wouldn’t be upset to see Kobe rest a few games.  I dare say that quite a few Laker-fans were/are in the same boat.  It’s not that I don’t want him to play – I do, but that I want him to be *Kobe*, and not someone else channeling their best #24… with a little success, a whole lotta heart, and ever the fear of heartache.
So… Kobe rests against Portland, and the Lakers win 97-82, in The Rose Garden where LA haven’t enjoyed a victory for many a game (9 games on the trot there!).
Kobe (and Andrew Bynum) rests against the Spurs, and a Phil-driven team give one of LA’s best performances for the season.  Gasol was perhaps the best he’s been all season, holding Tim Duncan to 16 points, and dominating the game – even tho’ his shooting wasn’t so hot.  Lamar Odom was fantastic, Ron Artest stepped up.  Even Fish, Farmar & Sasha contributed.
They had to move the ball, and couldn’t just sit back and ride #24.
What does it mean… LA are better off without Kobe?
Hell no.  What it does mean is that the other guys had to stand up and be counted… and they did.  The Lakers looked like a team, winning in a venue they haven’t won in a damn long time (ok… so Portland are a veritable MASH unit), and against a full-strength Spurs squad.
Obviously, Kobe took note too.
The other important thing is that Kobe gets rested, and ready for the post All-Star break push.
On that, I wouldn’t be unhappy to see him take the All Star game off.  He hinted today that it’s a possibility…
“I’m not an idiot. I’m not going to run through a wall just to run through a wall,” he said. “If it’s an injury where I feel like I can play through it and have it heal while I’m playing, then I’ll play. But if it’s the type of injury where it’s going to get worse when I play, then I won’t.”
Honestly?  I take more enjoyment from the selection than the game itself.  Take the game off for once Kobe – have a rest for once.  Watch Shannon Brown in the Dunk Comp.