April 6, 2012 |
Three weeks before the NBA playoffs, the Lakers hardly appear in full health. Kobe Bryant watched Friday's morning shootaround while wearing a protective boot to protect his injured left shin, Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. Center Andrew Bynum participated in most of the morning shootaround but left during free-throw drills for treatment on his sprained left ankle. Metta World Peace participated despite an unspecified ankle injury and Ramon Sessions was on the floor despite a sprained left shoulder and a jammed right index finger.
April 19, 2012 |
Well, it was fun while it lasted. Kobe Bryant didn't need to feel pressured into expediting his recovery from a sore left shin. Instead, the Lakers went 5-2 in his absence while Bryant rocked some pretty suits as he coached on the sidelines. But that will all end soon since Bryant expects to suit up Friday at San Antonio for the first time in 11 days. Before that happens, it's time to reflect on a few things that stood out during his absence. 1. The Lakers relied more on ball movement.
April 16, 2012 |
The Lakers can't win the NBA title without Kobe Bryant. The Lakers also can't win the NBA title unless they maintain the teamwork that led to a 4-1 record without him. How the Lakers strike that balance remains as uncertain as when Bryant fully heals his sore left shin. That moment probably won't happen Tuesday against the San Antonio Spurs. But it could happen soon. And when the Lakers reach that point, we'll see whether they truly live up to what they vividly outlined following the Lakers' 112-108 overtime victory Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks. Lakers Coach Mike Brown and teammates agree on the team's tempo improving during Bryant's absence.
August 13, 2012 |
Sitting by himself on the team bus Sunday, Kobe Bryant visualized what was in store for him that day. Team USA would soon play Spain for the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics, and this pregame ritual is the time Bryant visualizes the game-winning shot or a key scoring spurt he might provide to ensure victory. It also gave Bryant time to reflect on everything that had led up to that point. He knew this would mark his second and last Olympic run. He said without any hesitation that he wouldn't play in the 2016 Games in Brazil, considering that he turns 34 next week and possibly would be retired from the NBA by then.
August 20, 2012 |
This is the second post in a series focusing on five things each Lakers player must do to have a successful 2012-13 season. 1. Kobe Bryant needs to score off easier looks. With a much more talented supporting cast, Bryant will no longer need to carry an overwhelmingly significant chunk of the offense. But that puts the onus on Bryant to ensure that his shot attempts become more efficient. It was never a good idea that Bryant scored 21.7% of his points last season in isolation sets.
April 10, 2012 |
As Kobe Bryant sat on the bench wearing a suit and a walking boot, the Lakers received a visual reminder of what they don't have. Andrew Bynum felt it as double teams swarmed on him as the primary option. Pau Gasol sensed it as he picked up a larger offensive load. Ramon Sessions experienced it as he became a pick-and-roll point guard looking to score instead of worrying about how to set up the Lakers' star. With the 1-1 mark since the Bryant's absence because of an injured left shin, the Lakers have shown a mixed bag in absorbing his loss.
April 26, 2012 |
As the Lakers prepare for an otherwise meaningless season-finale Thursday against the Sacramento Kings, Kobe Bryant does have something significant he could try to achieve. Bryant would surpass Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant for the league's scoring title if he drops at least 38 points, providing the most vivid example on how he's continuously turned back Fathertime. Just as many give up chocolate for the Lent season, however, Bryant has professed all week "I don't care" about reaching such a milestone.
March 7, 2012 |
Game stories -- The Times' Mike Bresnahan highlights Kobe Bryant's acknowledgment he felt fatigued in the Lakers' 88-85 overtime loss Tuesday to the Detroit Pistons. -- The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding centers his game story on Bryant's struggles. -- The Detroit Free Press' Vince Ellis and the Detroit News' Vincent Goodwill credit Rodney Stuckey's contributions. -- The Daily News' Elliott Teaford focuses on the Lakers' continual road struggles.
July 4, 2012 |
The moment Kobe Bryant entered the gym, fans serenaded him with cheers, claps, waves and, of course, the MVP chants. It's inevitable he'd get that reception. It happens all the times at Laker games. It wasn't any different when Bryant arrived Monday at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara, as part of his efforts with Sprite in donating $25,000 toward refurbishing the facility's gym. Yet, those M-V-P chants came with a hint of irony after Bryant lost in a three-point shooting contest.
May 11, 2012 |
Game stories -- The Times' Mike Bresnahan notes that Kobe Bryant and Lakers Coach Mike Brown didn't like the effort Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol provided in the Lakers' 113-96 Game 6 loss Thursday to the Denver Nuggets. -- The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding details the Lakers' meltdown. -- The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman mentions that the loudspeakers at Pepsi Arena played Notorious B.I.G.'s "Goin' Back to Cali. " He also details the Nuggets' Game 6 dominance.