Kobe Bryant after receiving his fourth NBA Championship ring went back to work with 33 points as the Los Angeles Lakers went on to defeat their in-town rival LA Clippers 99-92 at the Staples Center. Every Laker on the team earned a ring from their 2008-2009 title except for Ron Artest, who joined the squad after trading places with now Houston Rockets small forward Trevor Ariza earlier this year.
Andrew Bynum on his 22nd birthday contributed with 26 points and 13 rebounds. While the Lakers were somewhat distracted by the banners, crowd and general memories of the summers events, the Clippers actually hung around. Eric Gordon, Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman netted 21, 18, and 14 in their efforts to stay with the defending champs. All it took was a Kobe/Odom take over early in the fourth for the Lakers to pull away.
“It’s always tough to play games after those kind of ceremonies,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson (Has won ten NBA titles as head coach with Chicago/LA). “Some of the energy is always difficult to maintain because there is a lot of energy that’s kind of dissipated when you go out and have that kind of ceremony. You’re not ready to step up and march to the tune of this season right yet.”