Kobe Bryant scored 30 points, taking him to 29,283 points in his career, all with the Los Angeles Lakers. You said Kobe Bryant? You said records, this time one that belonged to Michael Jordan, as Kobe Bryant became the all-time leading scorer for one franchise. Meaningless to tell you the truth, unlike the Lakers winning 104-101 against the Warriors, Bryant venting some anger at Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum gets the Mike Brown bench treatment.
But you gotta begin with Bryant, who had one of his ‘I’m shooting as much as I like tonight and you better not stop me.’ The end result? He made 9-24 from the field and 1-5 from three, finishing with 30 for the second time in four games and the 8th time this month. The Lakers moved on to 31-19, third in the West, 2.5 games ahead of the Clippers and Dallas. But not all is well in the Laker kingdom.
Bryant wasn’t exactly happy about getting benched by Mike Brown in the loss to Memphis Grizzlies, but was rather quiet about it. Bryant isn’t a hard man to read in terms of his emotions. It’s pretty simple usually. His will to win is equaled by the win to be about him, and of his superior feelings regarding his teammates and everything that surrounds him. Great players are often like that. There’s a drive that makes you both legendary and obnoxious at the same time.
The Warriors were playing the foul game, so on one of the inbounds Pau Gasol, who was 3-3 on the day from the line, and is 77.6% on the season, caught the inbound pass. Unacceptable if you’re Kobe Bryant, who quickly caught the hand off from Gasol and got fouled himself. Bryant finished the game with 11-12 and is 84.8% from the line this season. Obviously better, but Gasol is no Haywood.
No need to be a highly skilled lip reader to see what Bryant is saying to Gasol, who is slowly nodding in acceptance. I Don’t give a s&^*. Pass me the F&%$#@ ball. Ten magical words from a man who’s one of the greatest players of all time, but never forget to belittle the guys around him. Like Pau Gasol, who has been a centerpiece in Bryant’s two NBA titles without Shaq, who had a great game with 19 points and 17 rebounds. Dictatorships can be fun.
Gasol was extremely effective and important against the Warriors as Andrew Bynum played only 23 minutes. Don’t worry, no injury. Just another case of Mike Brown dishing out his own form of discipline. Bynum took a three pointer from the top of the key and got benched for most of the third quarter for it. Brown lost him, at least for the game, at that moment.
He brought him back in during the fourth quarter for a few minutes, but Bynum missed a few shots and Brown returned to a lineup that worked, and wanted to work, much better during the game.
I’ve been one of those that has arguing about Bynum being the most important piece this season for the Lakers. Improved defense has made them into an excellent defensive team, and his numbers and dominance in the paint have been tremendous – 18.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game.
Bynum, unlike Bryant, had no problem talking about not liking the benching. Funnier even – Bryant ganged up on Brown together with Andrew Bynum. With three wins in the last four games it’s hard to say that there’s a slip, but are Mike Brown’s moves good or bad for Lakers chemistry, especially when it’s clear who’s running the show over there, from the court?
Bynum – I don’t know what was bench-worthy about the shot, to be honest with you. I made one against Memphis and I wanted to make another one. I swear. That’s it. I guess coach took offense to it, so, he put me on the bench. Bynum didn’t look to eager to get involved back in the game once he was benched.
Bryant was picky with his words, but he sounded like someone saying that the coaching staff needs to learn how to handle these situations better, and not bench a guy for trying a three pointer, even if he’s a center who has 12.5% from beyond the arc during his career. I think it was more a matter of effort and not enough players showing it on the night, most of all Andrew Bynum.