Much of the talk going into Sunday's game has been of revenge. But the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant, have added a new word to the conversation: avenge. With their last loss to the Heat fresh on his mind, Bryant started the game 5 for 5, scoring on an array of mid range jumpers and fearless drives to the baskets. Bryant has 20 points at halftime, the only Laker in double figures.
Dwyane Wade, who was the focus of the media prior to the game for his hard foul in the All-Star game on Kobe Bryant (from which he suffered a broken nose and mild concussion), has largely struggled thus far. Wade has 8 points but on 3 for 10 shooting. Wade also seemed tentative to attack the basket; he took three 3-point shots, the most of any half this season.
Make no mistake about it, the first half hasn't wasn't entirely a tutorial for the Kobe System. The entire Lakers team came out with something to prove, hustling for rebounds, jockeying for loose balls, and playing an overall tough brand of basketball. Metta World Peace has 9 points and Andrew Bynum has 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
Meanwhile, the Heat have failed to get any contributions from anybody not named Mario Chalmers and LeBron James. Chalmers has 9 points (all on 3-point shots) and LeBron leads the Heat with 12 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds.