^ Thank God you bumped this.
I was going to come in here, but I was waiting for the right moment.
Yesterday to me looked like a real team. They looked like a team that could beat anybody on any given night and it started with Dwight and Kobe. Dwight was so focused, he looked WAY closer to Orlando Dwight than anything else he's shown us so far. Has he bought into being the future here? Who knows. Statistically this was far closer to an outlier than to a trend.
But all I know is that if he plays the way he played last night he frees up Clark. He frees up Artest. He frees up Nash and Kobe and the team really clicks.
The second part is Kobe's effort defensively. He gambled a few times, but his help defense was really great. The possession when he drew a charge on Bass, his activity was SKY high. It was really impressive to watch. I think he needs to give that kind of effort in those situations EVERY night. It's not just about scoring or assisting or shutting down one guy for 3 plays. It's about helping the helper and when he does it, the team will follow suit.
I'm not as optimstic as I've been in the past about the team this season. The slim chance for the playoffs gets slimmer by the hour. But they definitely looked like a team on a mission last night and that's the first step.