Pass-first, playmaking Kobe was on hand Thursday night, in a big nationally-televised duel against LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bryant set a career-high with 17 dimes, but the hapless Los Angeles Lakers still fell short 109-102.

Kobe also chipped in with 19 points in the loss.

Per the LA Daily News:

With Coach Byron Scott sticking to the 32-minute limit for Bryant, he had only six minutes to spend in the fourth quarter, when the Lakers were struggling to keep pace with the Cavaliers.

 

With 8:40 left in the game, the crowd began imploring “We want Kobe.” Bryant stayed on the bench as James took control. […] “Yeah, I heard the fans,” Scott said. “I wanted to say, ‘I want him in there, too.’”

 

After being excoriated for the way he handled Bryant’s early-season minutes, Scott held firm. Not even a visit from upstairs, say from Jim Buss or Jeanie Buss, would move him. But he at least considered the implications. […] “I just have to worry about Kobe and the team unless Jim comes down and Jeanie comes down and say we want him to play, then obviously we have to sit down with Kobe as well and have another discussion,” Scott said before the game. “But right now, everybody’s on board.”