The Los Angeles Lakers don’t change. Byron Scott is still a bad coach, Kobe Bryant continues to shoot like there’s no tomorrow even though he’s bricking almost everything coming out of his hands, costing his team another game in a 78-75 loss to the Miami Heat while Jeremy Lin plays well in the very short amount of time he was actually on the court.
It’s always incredible to watch a player like Kobe Bryant doing so badly yet insisting on trying the same thing over and over again, and actually seem surprised when it doesn’t work. Bryant shot 3-of-19 from the field in an awful performance, this time using the excuse of resting too much or not playing regular minutes as the reason for him looking so bad. Maybe actually giving up on some shots, including the final one which was a way too long pull up 3-pointer for someone with weak legs, would have yielded better results.
Bryant refuses to admit that he’s simply not a very good shooter anymore. He wasn’t the only one hogging the ball and getting nothing from his jumper, as Nick Young shot just 2-of-11 from the bench. But Bryant is the one playing more minutes and causing more damage. Instead of focusing on the something of a point guard, distributor role which fits him a lot more these days, he keeps trying to show he can score like in the good old days, which seem very far away by now.
The problem? Bryant will have a good scoring night once in a while and will think that it actually proves he’s being helpful, while in the long run, allowing him to take so many shots is hurting this team’s chances of having a more decent season. Lin played only 16 minutes, scored 7 points and was once again at the head of the better unit or lineup, whatever you prefer to call it. But on the Lakers, it’s about what your name is, not how well you’re playing.
The Miami Heat continue to show playing on the road is not a problem for them, although it was an ugly shooting performance for them as well. Chris Bosh scored just 8 points on 4-of-17 from the field, Dwyane Wade missed most of the game with a hamstring injury and it was up to Mario Chalmers with 19 points and Hassan Whiteside once again doing very well off the bench scoring 15 points in 21 minutes to carry the torch. Bryant made sure that the last possession the Lakers had to tie the game wasn’t going to make things difficult for the Heat.
Byron Scott seems more and more like someone who has it in for Lin for some reason. Why did he play just 16 minutes, despite having the best +/- in the game? Only Scott knows. The second unit, not for the first time, outplayed the lineup in more than one way, yet Scott continues to stick to his guns, which means allowing Bryant to do whatever he wants on the floor while Ronnie Price got to be in on the action in crunch time instead of Lin for some warped reason no one can understand.
There’s the theory of the Lakers trying to tank. But playing Kobe Bryant = tanking? It’s hard to believe that Scott actually thinks that way. But the numbers and what we see on the court matches the theory that the Lakers are giving more useful players less minutes time and time again. Not wanting to insult Bryant is one thing, maybe even understandable in a way. But punishing Lin for some unknown, mysterious and invisible reason with playing time fitting a 9th or 10th man on the rotation? Seems like Scott is once again reading the abilities of his players in all the wrong ways.