Coming into the matchup with the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, Kobe Bryant’s status for the Los Angeles Lakers was up in the air. Kobe had been dealing with flu-like symptoms all day and was considered a game-time decision.
As if there were any doubt, it was announced that Kobe would play despite the symptoms. Usually when Kobe plays and is under the weather, the opposition can’t contain the perennial All-Star as he tends to excel in these situations.
Kobe didn’t fail to disappoint in the scoring department on Tuesday at the Staples Center by putting up a game-high 40 points. As the league’s leading scorer, Kobe has been on a roll offensively this season and extremely efficient, but he struggled with turnovers against the Pacers.
The five-time NBA champion may have bumped up his scoring average to a league-best 27.7 points per game on Tuesday, but his 40 points or 10 rebounds wasn’t what he was thinking about after the game, as his double-digit turnovers (10) were frustrating the superstar guard via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
“It boggles my mind that I had 10 turnovers,” Bryant said. “Those are things that I can minimize, and my responsibility is to pick everybody up. … The fact is, we had 10 possessions we didn’t get looks at the basket because I turned it over.”
Throughout the game it was clear Kobe was nowhere near 100 percent and ailing from the flu-like symptoms reported earlier in the day. There was no lift on his shot and the energy simply wasn’t there as he was obviously fatigued.
Although Kobe’s scoring and rebounding was crucial to keeping the Lakers in the fight last night against the Pacers, the 10 turnovers simply isn’t going to get it done and is definitely the one stat that sticks out more than any from Kobe’s performance.
Despite Kobe’s turnovers and overall sloppy performance, the Lakers had an opportunity to put the Pacers away in the fourth quarter. Putrid free-throwing and a defensive collapse in the final minutes ultimately put the nail in the coffin for Lakers as they fall below .500 once again with a 7-8 record.