The Lakers proved that old habits die hard in their win last night over the Phoenix Suns. After a very solid first half, the Lakers went on a extreme dry spell offensively in the third, which allowed Phoenix to not only get back into the game, but to take the lead as well. Fortunately for the Lakers, they were able to get back on track offensively and tighten up their defense to leave Staples Center with a much needed victory.
However, the storyline of the night was that Kobe only took one shot and scored just four points, which was his lowest points total in his career in a game where he played at least 30 minutes. However, Dwight Howard and Antawn Jamison had great performances, which covered up Kobe’s poor shooting. Surprisingly, Kobe remained upbeat about the performance, saying:
“I thought it was great, actually,” Bryant said. “Obviously, scoring four points, going 1 for 8, that’s not necessarily a recipe for success. … But it’s not about us as individuals. It’s about what we can do to help the team.”
Bryant added that all was not lost by his lack of shooting, as he had nine assists on the night.
“I’ve been doing that since January, when I was trying to make the right play, keep everybody involved, and then I try to get going a little bit,” Bryant said. “But they took away my post-ups to see if the other guys could beat us, or maybe if I’d get frustrated or force things a little bit, but I just took the double-teams and just tried to make the right play.”
Kobe being Kobe makes it tough to go after for having a bad shooting night, especially with the otherwise efficient season he is currently having. This sentiment was echoed by Mike D’Antoni, who said after the game:
“I guess every 17 years, he’s allowed that,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I wouldn’t be too tough on him. It was just one of those nights. He was trying too hard to get everybody else involved. You’ve got to walk the fine line, and he’s way over the other line. … Just write it off and get to the next one.”
Don’t expect Kobe to repeat his four point performance again on Thursday night when the Lakers take on the Clippers before they go into the All-Star break. While Kobe needs to take more shots than he did tonight in order to maintain rhythm, it is amazing to see him evolve his game to best serve the team. However, committing a career-high eight turnovers must not happen again.