After over a month of NBA basketball in 2015-2016, the Philadelphia 76ers have a win. It helped that they were facing the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant, who has no intention of letting anyone forget he’s retiring, which means he can do whatever he wants.
Bryant took 26 shots (making just 7 of them) in the 103-91 loss to the 76ers, as the two-win Lakers get closer and closer to being the worst team in the NBA. Maybe they already are, although it’s fine by the front office, who want to avoid losing their top 3 protected pick to the 76ers, which means this is tank mode without a doubt. Bryant? He’s “helping” the team by playing without any regard to the sport called basketball. It’s all about the Bryant farewell tour.
This was the 22nd time a player has taken 26 shots this season in a game, or more. No one has shot as poorly as Bryant, who finished with 20 points while going 4-of-17 from beyond the arc. Why shoot so much when you know you no longer have the legs to do it? Bryant doesn’t care. He’s not going to step back for anyone, or move aside for anyone. He simply wants the spotlight and more than anything, the ball to himself, and the rest of the organization can go down the drain as far as he cares. Byron Scott isn’t going to bench him, so why bother changing and doing things you don’t want?
And a few words about the Sixers after the Bryant bashing: They’ve got some nice players. Jerami Grant, who provided a nice rejection of Bryant, is a good player, finishing with 14 points. Jahlil Okafor has his problems off the court, but he’s going to be a dominant scoring center for a while in this league. Robert Covington has his good days, like this one, finishing with 23 points. Nerlens Noel is someone worth keeping as a foundation for this franchise. They shouldn’t be 1-18, they’re better than that. Maybe this win over the Lakers will help this season pick up and look a bit more respectable.
I feel sorry for the Lakers players. Most of them are trying to develop, improve, win games. And then there’s Kobe Bryant, who hasn’t cared about those things in a long time. He knows he’s not winning a sixth championship ring. He knows he’s not reaching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record. All he cares about is getting the jackals off of him (those criticizing him for all the right reasons) and for no one to disturb him while he takes more shots than the best players in the NBA. His retirement announcement was a stroke of genius. Now he can miss all the shots he once, and people will shed a tear because he’s leaving the league.