Even in a loss, there were a lot of things that went positively for the Lakers last night that should encourage all Laker fans about the future of this team, and I'll get to those in a second. But sometimes, even if a team plays well, ending up with a close loss in a game they should have won always makes everything else feel moot. And the Lakers played really well last night, especially defensively, against the top team in the Western Conference. But the final 30 seconds of that game just keep replaying in my head over and over again.

At this point, even if he's going to get blown by, you have to put Kobe Bryant on the primary ball-handler in crunchtime. Bryant is notoriously more active when he is guarding a ball-handler and we have years worth of evidence that suggests he is one of the worst off ball defensive players in the NBA. After the game Tony Parker hinted that Gregg Popovich drew up that play for Danny Green specifically because he knew Bryant was going to ball watch on that possession and be a step slow getting around Tim Duncan's down screen. In fact, Duncan didn't even have to make contact with Bryant for his screen to be effective. Kobe simply ran into Dwight Howard on his way out to Green (as evidenced here with full snark).