Commentary

How Lakers succeeded without Kobe

PER Diem: Feb. 23, 2010

Updated: February 23, 2010, 4:11 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com
LakersAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesPau Gasol averaged 18.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists in the Lakers' five games without Kobe.

It's easy to forget now, but a few years ago the Lakers were a one-man team. In 2005-06, Kobe Bryant averaged a league-leading 35.4 points per game, the league's second-highest scoring average in the past 40 years, and all that got the Lakers was a 45-37 record and a first-round exit courtesy of Phoenix.