The mask, it only makes him better

Written by: Malaika Bobino Los Angeles, CA – It was almost a week ago when the best of the NBA gathered in Orlando, Florida for the All-Star game.  An unusual foul for that type of game brought many questions as to why it happened.  But a humble Dwayne Wade explained that his hard foul late in the game which caused the leading NBA scorer to don a mask was not intentional. “He knew I was going to be ready,” said Kobe Bryant The anticipated for both players to meet again was at an all time high!  What would be the revenge for Bryant? Simple, the win, he led the Lakers to a 93-83 victory over the Miami Heat.  As for Wade he fouled out of his second game of the season with 5:41 left in the fourth quarter. Trailing by as many as 14 points the Heat sparked a comeback in the third to cut the lead to two.  But the Los Angeles defense kept their lead and dominated the boards.  Since wearing the mask, Kobe has been phenomenal.  Not a shock especially since the second half of the season is when the best players shine as they prepare for the road to the playoffs. But a different Bryant emerged in leading his team by scoring 18 points in the first quarter.  Usually Kobe does his work in the fourth but lately he has been the player he once was when he had to rely on himself for the win.  With the upcoming trade deadline approaching the Lakers need to add more depth in order to maintain a good position in the Western Conference. The key factors to this former championship team have diminished leaving questions as to who should be traded?  Pau Gasol has struggled, Derek Fisher adds no spark and the 6th man of the year, Lamar Odom was traded to the Dallas Mavericks.  Holding the 5th place in the Western Conference standings the Lakers need a lot more than Bryant scoring 30+ points a night. “I don’t foul much,” said Dwayne.  “I guess I had the red flag on me today.” As for the Miami, losing Chris Bosh to a recent family matter has made a difference in the paint.  Udonis Haslem who started in place of Bosh for the first time since the 2009 playoffs went scoreless the entire game.  With only 20 minutes of playing time he was no help to the Heat. “We did extremely well, Bryant said.  “I felt like we matched their energy and their physicality.”
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