Despite shooting over 51.9 percent from the field, 60 percent from three-point range, and having Kobe Bryant back in the starting lineup, the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Phoenix Suns 116-107 Sunday night.
As expected, Byron Scott limited Bryant’s minutes to just 32, sitting him for close to half of the fourth quarter in order to stick to his restriction.
Surprisingly, Bryant (4-10) finished the fourth quarter with just one shot attempt, as opposed to guards Nick Young and Jeremy Lin who combined for 11 shots. Of course, Bryant was heavily guarded, often double-teamed, but Kobe’s been known for forcing (and making) tough shots with a game on the line in the final minutes.
I can force it, but listen the defenses are just saying come hell or high water I’m not going to beat ’em, as simple as that,” Bryant said after being asked about his one shot attempt in the fourth quarter. “I go through three guys and everybody’s b—-ing and complaining, so I just try to make the simple play. Some nights we make shots and some nights we don’t.”
After the game, Jeremy Lin noted that Bryant did “a great job making good basketball plays” for his teammates. The subject of the team concentrating on playing unselfish basketball has been a common theme in the Lakers locker room.
The Lakers will return to the practice floor Monday morning before hopping on a plane to Denver. If all goes according to plan with Tarik Black’s scheduled physical Monday, the Lakers new center should be available for the Lakers next game against the Nuggets.
VIDEO: Jeremy Lin On Kobe Bryant’s Return, Says Making Good Basketball Plays Will Be Key To Their Success