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Kobe Bryant commits to 2012 Olympics

'You guys want me there, I'm there,' says Bryant, who was a key to U.S. gold medal in 2008.

November 02, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

Team USA got a fairly good player to commit to the cause in 2012. Guy by the name of Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers' shooting guard green-lighted another run at the Olympics, committing to it Tuesday on Mike Krzyzewski's Sirius XM radio show. Krzyzewski coaches Team USA and Duke.

"You guys want me there, I am there and I'm ready to defend," Bryant said. "And then when you guys need me to put some points on the board I'll do that too."

Bryant was a key player on the gold-medal effort by Team USA at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, averaging 15 points a game. He did not take part in off-season activities for the team in 2009 or this past off-season.

The U.S. won the world championship in Turkey two months ago with Lakers forward Lamar Odom playing a vital role. Odom, of course, would welcome Bryant's addition to the team in London.

"He did a great job last time," Odom said. "The team will be mature and have NBA and Olympic experience. I think it'll be a lot of fun playing with those guys."

Bryant will be 34 in 2012.

His first appearance in the Olympics, in 2008, was memorable. He had 20 points, including a late four-point play, and added six assists in Team USA's 118-107 victory over Spain in the gold-medal game.

Back-to-back attack

The mark of a successful team is often its prowess in back-to-back situations.

Enter the Lakers.

They went 13-7 in the second game of back-to-back sets last season and 14-5 in 2008-09.

They should fare just as well this season on second nights, if not better, because their bench appears to be more reliable. They'll complete their first back-to-back set Wednesday in Sacramento after beating Memphis on Tuesday at Staples Center.

"We've done very well in back-to-backs in recent times," Coach Phil Jackson said. "It still always puts pressure on a player and puts pressure on your physical well-being and the amount of rest you get. We'll see how we do."

The Lakers have only 15 back-to-backs this season, their fewest since entering the league in 1948-49, when they also had 15. The Lakers had 20 last season, their most since 1999-2000.

The Lakers play the fewest back-to-backs in the NBA this season, followed by Phoenix (16) and Oklahoma City (17).

Atlanta, Chicago and Milwaukee each play 23 sets, the most in the NBA.

Fast start?

The Lakers (4-0) are rolling so far this season, but Jackson didn't want to talk about the implications of it long before they tipped off against Memphis.

"I consider a fast start like 10-0 … so there's still another few days here before we'll talk about a fast start," he said.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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