How does Kobe Bryant follow up on a 6-28 shooting night? Shoot even more, but hit them this time. Bryant exploded for 37 points, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 108-99 win over the Houston Rockets, supported by a scorching Andrew Bynum with his first career 20-20 game.
But we’ll get to Bynum soon. Bryant looking like the egotistical scorer of old, with the big numbers, came to play Tuesday night. After his terrible shooting night against the Nuggets, Bryant said he watched the tapes with Mike Brown, but didn’t suggest he’s planning on changing any time soon. After 15 years in the league, it kind of hard to change you MO.
As Bryant put it ‘When I see open guys I pass. When I don’t, I shoot.‘ Pretty simple. Bryant had a 14-29 shooting night, as if to prove he doesn’t care about bad nights, about the critics, or about Andrew Bynum being the preferred go to guy by some. Andrew Bynum did finish with 21 points and 22 rebounds, but he’s depending on other players to feed him the ball. Bryant can shoot all he wants to. Some nights it works, some nights, more and more nights to tell you the truth, it looks bad.
The Dwight Howard rumors are back, and it’ll probably take both Gasol and Bynum to get the best center in the NBA. It doesn’t seem to bother Bynum, who’s been looking extra focused since returning from his suspension, finally becoming what his potential suggested he might become. Is it for the long run, and can the Lakers become a Center-centric team once again? Not if Bryant has anything to do with it.
An all time great, but for hit to launch over 20 shots a game is bad for the Lakers. He’s averaging 22.3 field goal attempts so far this season, shooting 41.7% from the field. He’s not getting good looks, he just pulls up whenever he feels like it. It’s going to work less and less as the season progresses and Bryant gets older. Changing Bryant’s behavior is probably an impossible mission. But limiting his court time isn’t.
Just keep this number in your head before you sign off. Andrew Bynum was on the floor for 38 minutes, finished with a +17. He took 15 shots, making 8. Kobe Bryant played 37 minutes, took 29 shots, made 14, and finished with a +1. The Rockets were incredibly bad last night during some stretches, but I just can’t see the Lakers being more than a just above .500 team if Bryant keeps throwing up these numbers every night.