The Los Angeles Lakers lost 109-102 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kobe Bryant? He had his best game of the season, including a career high in assists. Jeremy Lin? Good when he played, but Byron Scott isn’t really keen on using him lately.
Kobe Bryant played and posted the numbers he should for the Lakers to be at their best. He scored 19 points that went with 17 assists. No one is asking him not to shoot, only moderate the shots he takes. He still took tough ones, but still made them, hitting 7-of-14 from the field. Seeing LeBron James on the other side, Bryant had to put on a performance. It didn’t help because the defense was once again terrible, but at least he’s not the one to blame.
Byron Scott keeps burying Lin deep on his bench in crunch time and overall giving him unfathomable playing time. He once again spent only 15 minutes on the floor, scoring 9 points in them. Personally? He played well, but his unit was swept aside and Lin finished with a -12. It can’t be called a very good game for Lin, but he’s not alone out there, and it continues to be weird seeing him getting so few minutes, especially with Bryant in a giving mood.
But Lin is separated from Bryant when the two don’t share the court in crunch time in a way. Scott has decided that it’s the best way to get the best out of both players, but Lin is the one suffering from it because if Bryant isn’t resting, he isn’t going to play less than 32 minutes a night. Putting it all into some sort of context, the best chance for Lin to put up big numbers is either shoot on every possession in games Bryant is playing, or simply cross his fingers for Bryant to spend as much time as possible in a suit on the sidelines. Maybe even get shut down?
For once, the Lakers were better because of Bryant and not because he isn’t playing. But Bryant isn’t playing badly because his legs, knees, mind and overall body are getting older for the game in the NBA. He plays badly because he refuses to recognize the weaknesses growing in him on most nights. We’ve written a few times that ‘maybe this is the turning point’ but on most occasions, we’ve been proven that a leopard can’t change his spots, and Bryant is a certain kind of player who thinks of himself in a certain kind of way, and that isn’t going to change.