Celebrating too hard from marking another achievement, Kobe Bryant looked awful as the Los Angeles Lakers lost 110-91 to the Indiana Pacers, while Jeremy Lin regressed back to his ways when he just got benched, which wasn’t helpful for anyone involved.
The Lakers shot an embarrassing 7-of-43 from the field in the first half, scoring just 27 points. Things were so bad in the first 24 minutes that despite outscoring the Pacers by 14 points in the second half, they still couldn’t actually come close to a more respectable result. Despite their problems this season, the Pacers defense is still very good, especially when Roy Hibbert is playing, and yet doing this badly is something unique, historic and unforgettable that goes beyond the realms of a defense forcing it on its opponent.
Bryant, never one to let a bad shooting day stop him, isn’t going to slow down now that he has the number three spot on the all-time scoring list. Make no mistake: Bryant is staying in the NBA just for the sole purpose of getting to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on top of the scoring list. No wins, no championships, no team success. It’s about him and him alone. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been playing 30 minutes in a game that entered garbage time after the first quarter, and he wouldn’t have taken 26 shots (8-of-26) to reach a meager 21 points.
The other no-pass shooter on this team, Nick Young, scored 18 points, and did a little better, but not that it actually mattered. Carlos Boozer scored 13 points to go with 10 rebounds and Wesley Johnson added 13 in 24 minutes. All those numbers really didn’t mean anything or make a difference, while Rodney Stuckey finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists to lead the Pacers to their first win after eight consecutive losses. Playing only 29 minutes, the Pacers were winning by 31 points when he was on the floor. C.J. Miles with 20 points and Donald Sloan scoring 17 provided a big help off the bench, as three more players scored in double figures.
Trailing by 33 points at half time tied a record for the Lakers since moving to Los Angeles. They were behind by that much in one of their losses to the Clippers last season, something of the norm over the last few years, although there have been some surprises here and there, like their win in San Antonio. Too much success seems to go to this team’s head, as winning streaks aren’t just ended with a loss, but by blowouts and embarrassing performances.
Lin had nothing to be proud of, as he put on another performance that was lacking in confidence, accuracy or anything of the things we saw from him in the last two games, as it seemed like he was coming out of his shell and adjusting to his new role. He played just 17 minutes, scoring only two points on 0-of-6 from the field. There are days when things go wrong, but Lin can’t afford to have them as his role for the Lakers continues to diminish. I’ll say again: A worthless player like Ronnie Price continues to get more minutes than him. Five points in 19 minutes is pretty much the best we’ve seen from Price since he got into the lineup.
Kobe Bryant called the performance atrocious, but Bryant’s comments are sometimes impossible to comprehend considering what he’s actually doing on the floor. A parallel universe – one that’s on the court and one that’s off of it. What does he care? He got the first milestone he came for this season and is getting paid more than anyone else in the league to achieve. Now it’s on to the next one. Actually improving as a team? He leaves that to the peasants and coaches, who can plan and train all they want to. Bryant is still going to do whatever he wants.