In the Lakers recent game against the Heat, Bryant took 21 shots to reach 24 points, mirroring his performance from last year’s NBA Finals Game 7, and once again revealing Bryant’s penchant for going one on five, and in the process shooting his team out of the game.
Love him not.
Since the All-Star break, Bryant has averaged close to 25 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game, including wins over Portland (2), Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Phoenix, Atlanta, Dallas, and Orlando and serving notice to the rest of the league that the champs have finally awoken.
In a game that Miami desperately needed to win, but one that Laker fans had been begging for since the Christmas Day massacre, Bryant shot a woeful 8-for-21, logged only two rebounds and two assists for the game, and was at the center of every bad Laker possession down the stretch.
Love him not.
There were no tears, though, and no excuses. What there was, however, was a post-game workout inside an empty American Airlines Arena that lasted well into the midnight hour… penance for a poor performance, a promise to be better next time, and a reminder of all of the lengths this man is willing to go to ensure that he’s the last one standing in June.
Unfortunately, there aren’t enough petals on the daisy to count all of the ways we love him and love him not. Bryant’s unwavering confidence in his own ability to carry the team despite any and all obstacles, and to hit any shot regardless of the degree of difficulty, is not only admirable; it’s also what has made him the best of his generation and in the conversation with the best ever.
Sometimes, though, it’s also the reason for his undoing.