One of the more annoying things for Los Angeles Lakers players this season is the attention they’re not getting, with Kobe Bryant, despite playing pretty badly half the time, taking up all of it.
Every away game is his last visit to ‘x’, this time being in Boston, with the Lakers stunned the Celtics for a 112-104 win. Bryant had a bad game, finishing with 5-of-18 from the field for 15 points and also grabbing 11 rebounds. But he played well and didn’t miss shots in the fourth quarter (nine points with two three pointers and three from the line), and so everything that Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell and Lou Williams did simply disappeared.
Besides the fact that a good team like the Celtics should be asking itself questions as to how they managed to lose to such an awful team and even allow them to score 112 points, there’s Bryant going back to some bad numbers, with the Lakers hoping this was the exception, not a return to the norm of his earlier games this season. But after a stretch of being close to 50% from the field and scoring around 20 points per game, Bryant is shooting just 31.8% from the field in the last five games.
So what happened besides Bryant? Well, the Lakers were able to counter the usually very troublesome Celtics backcourt with Williams (19 points, 7-of-9 from the field) and Clarkson, scoring 24 points in one of his better games this season, hitting 10-of-15 shots. Nick Young and Russell hit each a couple of three pointers off the bench, with Russell scoring 16 points in 27 minutes, while Julius Randle added 15 with 12 rebounds. Roy Hibbert scoring 0 points was another one of those examples borderline All-Star players can lose of all their abilities one fine day and never find them again.
So Bryant is done with Boston. Unlike the 80’s Lakers bunch, only one of his five NBA titles from 2000 to 2010 went through the Celtics, also losing one NBA title against them. With both teams being what they are right now (the Celtics have managed to pretty quickly put themselves in a good position to contend again), Bryant gets to have his goodbye without it really meaning anything to his team, still trying to blend a narcissistic retirement tour with tanking and developing young players while an incompetent head coach tries to do something from the sidelines.