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Kobe Bryant's heavy minutes may ease in next two games

April 05, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Lakers guard Kobe Bryant goes baseline for a dunk over Dallas Mavericks forward Elton Brand.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant goes baseline for a dunk over Dallas Mavericks… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

In a show of stamina after spraining his ankle and suffering a sore foot (bone spur), Kobe Bryant has played in all but 79 seconds of the Lakers' last two games.

With Steve Nash out with a strained hamstring, Bryant played 47 minutes and 37 seconds in a win Saturday in Sacramento against the Kings (103-98).  On Tuesday, the Lakers' All-Star guard logged 47 minutes and four seconds in L.A.'s 101-81 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

"It concerns me," Coach Mike D'Antoni said. "There have been unique situations. We've had a couple of days off after the games."

The win over the Mavericks had significant playoff implications, locking in the head-to-head tiebreaker against Dallas while helping the Lakers to overtake the Utah Jazz in the standings.

Bryant notched a triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists — along with four steals and two blocks. He played both guard positions while starting at small forward.

D'Antoni noted that the game against the Mavericks was on TNT with longer timeouts and a lengthier halftime break.

"A lot of it is in the moment, 'How do you feel?' 'What's going on?'" said D'Antoni about making sure Bryant isn't overextended. "We're trying to steal minutes when we can for him."

Nash is doubtful for Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies, but it may be difficult for D'Antoni to use Bryant for another 47+ minutes.

"Friday may be a little different because we play Sunday at 1:00," D'Antoni said.

The Lakers visit the Clippers over the weekend in their second-to-last road game (at Staples Center).

Bryant isn't playing these minutes against his will.

"He insists.  He wants to play," according to D'Antoni.  "I've got to trust how he feels about his body and how he feels about his situation."

Memphis will be a tougher matchup for Bryant who will face noted defenders Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince.


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Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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