Kobe Bryant’s heart and pride were both never in question, but his reluctance to throw in the towel was. The question is if being too proud, is hurting the team.
Kobe Bryant in Sunday’s loss to the Jazz was a memorable one to Lakers fans because of the heart and determination that was seen in their team leader. Though it was not a fairy tail ending, resulting in a Lakers loss, eyebrows were raised, and questions were asked.
With Kobe being out there with a broken finger, and a stomach virus, was he doing his Lakers team any good?
When looking at the stat line you can tell that this was not another Kobesque moment. Kobe did not have the energy or the power to deliver for his team. Kobe was not seen in the paint or in the post like we are used to.
Kobe was unable to get to the basket at all and was left to shoot the outside shot. His shot was not falling for him, and he was left with a 1 for 9 stat line from 3 point range. Settling for the three was evident especially late in the game when he had no desire to get into the post or drive into the lane. After one shot late in the 4th it was more then obvious that Kobe was just out of breath and that he was unable to keep producing. He made a short jumper and got fouled. After the whistle Kobe was kneeling down in sure exhaustion. He finished on the field with 7 out of 24, going 1 for 1 on the free throw line.
His rebounding number was impressive, counting in the fact that he was fatigued and drained on a back to back night. He finished with 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
We have seen Kobe play with a sprained wrist, a torn ligament in his pinky, bad knees, and ankle sprains over and over again.
Usually he comes through in the clutch and delivers for his team. As he becomes older, one must wonder if he is doing more harm then good playing through these injuries. More or less it was not his offensive game that really did the damage for the Lakers, but it was his defensive non presence that hurt the team. He was too slow and tired to help and rotate on defense. He was unable to stay in front of his man. He was too slow and lagged on the passing lanes. The Jazz were scoring at ease, getting in the lane with the torn defensive rotations.
At a time where Kobe is putting more risk on his injury and his body, one must ask if he would be better sitting out. I believe he should have sat this one out, with either Shannon Brown or Sasha Vujacic starting.
The Lakers are a team that is deep, a team that can sustain some injuries for a short period of time. They have that luxury, and they need to use it.