Bryant at his best, back-to-back

Updated: January 14, 2009, 10:14 PM ET
By Luke Cyphers | ESPN The Magazine
Woody Allen purportedly said 80% of success is just showing up. And when it comes to back-to-back games, the Lakers do that better than any team in the NBA. Most players dread back-to-back games. It's hard on the body, tough on the mind, especially in an 82-game season. But the Lakers seem to lack self-pity. In eight sets of back-to-back games so far this season, L.A. is 4-4 in the first game, and a league-best 7-1 the next day.

After grinding out a win over the McGrady-less Rockets in Houston last night, the Lakers face a daunting encore tonight at San Antonio. So what can we expect from L.A.? A whole lotta Kobe. Until the last several games, the Lakers rode their bench to the top of the Western Conference. L.A.'s reserves dominated the opposition's bench, with the highest plus/minus in the NBA.
Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.

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