I was at the Laker game on Sunday, November 15, 2009, and noticed that Kobe Bryant was playing with a lot less energy and physical elegance than usual. His shots were forced, and were off by a lot more than usual. At the end of the game, another fan and I turned to each other and discussed the poor performance. Sarcastically, we said that we hoped the papers would report the next day that Kobe had been injured, or there had been a personal crisis of some sort.
As it happens, Kobe had apparently tweaked a groin injury he had originally suffered against the New Orleans Hornets one week before. Phil Jackson noted after the game that Kobe had also skipped the three practice days leading up to the loss at Denver, where Kobe’s performance was also subpar. For Sunday’s game against Houston, though, Kobe made 5 of 20 shots for a total of 18 points.
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