Things haven’t gone exactly as planned for the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant back in the starting lineup. The Lakers have now dropped four of five games since he returned December 8 against the Toronto Raptors.
Tonight, the Lakers dropped their second of three games on the road in a 114-100 loss to the Atlanta Hawks and will end their four-game road trip tomorrow night against the Memphis Grizzlies. However, Bryant still didn’t look fully comfortable on the floor, admitting on TWC Sportsnet that his ankle is still giving him some problems:
It felt a little stiff on me. That’s the next level of progression. Playing these games, sitting out and getting back in. Getting it loose is a matter of time, increased activity and keep it loose.
On the night, Bryant shot 4-14 with eight points as he was the de-facto point guard, once again racking up the turnovers. In 32 minutes, Bryant had five turnovers to six assists as the Lakers blew a seven-point halftime lead, getting outscored 35-19 by the Hawks in the third quarter.
While he’s shown flashes of his old self, the 35-year-old guard is still trying to shake off the rust. Tomorrow night will arguably be Bryant’s toughest test, on the second of a back-to-back, and told TWC SportsNet how he’ll prepare for the Grizzlies:
Try and get ready for the next night. Stretch, ice and make sure you take care of your body.
It’ll be Bryant’s fourth game in five nights, and after saying he’d like to limit his all-star guard to about 25 minutes, head coach Mike D’Antoni has played Bryant over 30 minutes for the second consecutive game. While it’s frustrating to watch Bryant struggle to regain his form, don’t expect things to get any easier for Bryant and the Lakers tomorrow night in Memphis.
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