Monday, March 26th, 2012 at 9:00 am  |  69 responses

Kobe Bryant Upset By Fourth Quarter Benching

by Marcel Mutoni @marcel_mutoni

As the Memphis Grizzlies were running circles around the Lakers on their home floor last night, things took a strange turn for LA. Head coach Mike Brown benched Kobe Bryant midway through the fourth quarter, to the amazement of everyone in the building.

According to the national TV broadcast, Metta World Peace had to be told twice to enter the game for Bryant because he was so surprised by the move. Mike Brown offered little explanation, other than cryptically telling reporters postgame that he felt a sub was needed for Kobe at the time.

The Lakers’ superstar guard admitted that he was upset with the benching, but refused to criticize his coach. From the LA Times:

When a reporter asked if it was correct to assume he was upset over the benching, Bryant said “of course I was. That’s an astute observation.” But Bryant refused to criticize Brown. “It’s his decision to make. He’s the coach. If you guys are looking for a story, I’m not going to contribute to it,” Bryant said. “I can’t sit here and criticize his decisions. Leading this ball club, that’s not something I can afford to do. I had his back the whole season. I can’t start doing something crazy now. It would make no sense.”

Meanwhile, Brown said three variances of “I just decided to make a sub” and offered little explanation on why he benched Bryant in favor of Metta World Peace. “There was not one particular thing,” Brown said. “I just made the sub, went with Metta, sat [Bryant] for a couple of minutes and tried to go back to him. But it didn’t work.”

With fans chanting his name, Kobe Bryant returned to the game with just under two minutes remaining, but could not help the Lakers pull out a win.

The loss was frustrating on many levels for LA: they played shoddy defense, their rebounding was abysmal, and the team seemed to lack the energy needed to keep up with the hungry Grizzlies.

Benching Kobe Bryant — who, granted, didn’t play particularly well last night — late in the fourth quarter did little to help matters, and created an unnecessary dramatic subplot going forward.

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  • Duh

    Dumb move. Mike Brown you aren’t planning on staying long are ya

  • RunNGun

    Mike Brown just wanted to assert is authoritay. Resting is good for Kobe; he’s just following Pop’s example when he rested Duncan and Parker.

  • tomtom

    Our D lost us that game, but if anyone could have bailed us out it was Kobe, especially with the better quality looks he is getting now that sessions is out there. Mike has made 3 massive mistakes in the past week or so, the sessions 6th man (now resolved) scenario, the Kobe benching in Houston when Brown thought it was sealed up late and the play call in Houston with 20 seconds left OOB. Now this. I’d been cool with Brown, even the fact that he (as predicted) has ZERO offensive structure. Dude could be on thin ice with the fans.

  • Mike Mihalow

    So what? Coach Brown was just trying something else. Deal with it.

  • Ash

    He bench Kobe because of his attitude. Forth quater he takes a hard shot instead of passing it to open Barnes. Of course he missed it didn’t run down the floor and watch a 3 on 1 transition. Mike Brown got a time out and he punches the chair and sit down. Smh he’s the leader. You missed the shot and didn’t run down the floor and give Memphis easy points.

  • diega santos

    change the coach!

  • FLIGHT 9

    WHO CARES??? Lakers will not win a chip anyway PERIOD…

  • http://sdjfklfl.com Jukai

    This guy was a Coach of the Year. This guy.

  • Heals

    Way to deflect from the fact that Mem handled them from the get-go. Well we know who the LAL don’t want to see in the first round, or any team for that matter…

  • jopi villar

    what happened to the coach? can we get back phil jackson?

  • http://www.yahoo.com mharkee

    whatever it is,you need the best player in the world closing out games,not to let him watch on the bench.

  • AD

    You guys surely didn’t watch the game. Kobe had played the whole second half with out a blow up till he was running on fumes and that’s when coach had to give him a quick two minute rest. There’s no story here. Keep it moving “Enquir(e)”ing minds.

  • CP31

    kobe sucks

  • riggs

    they were going to lose regardless lol

  • kobe

    See what lebron can hide. Shows how good lebron was, mike brown an okay coach not a good one.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    Bottom line Memphis outplayed us no excuses. They were hitting the boards and TAllen had Kobe on lock for a nice portion of the game.

  • Musicman

    Well Mike Brown is showing why he didn’t work out in Cleveland and why Lebron left. I don’t think the Lakers will let Kobe leave if this gets worse, so Mike Brown may end up unemployed at the end of the season, especially if the Lakers don’t go far in the playoffs.

  • dee

    Kobe’s attitude can sometimes be a cancer to the team. His lack of effort on defense is somethings that’s happening more than I’d like to see out of an all-NBA defender. When you have a player in his prime like Bynum, you play through him…Kobe’s still a great player but sometimes his decision making is suspect. Tony Allen had him frustrated for most of the night. Coach Brown probably wanted to make a point by sitting Kobe…it’s funny b/c it almost worked…down by 7 and you need a stop and Kobe decides to not guard his man leaving Allen open for that corner jumper (9 point lead)…then getting back on D to create another turn over. Not being to slow down Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo is was the issue…hope these two teams don’t meet in the playoffs.


    The Mamba was locked down so he had to sit down. Simples. Like Meercats. If you wack you take a step back.

  • http://www.twitter.com DFrance21

    I respect Mike Brown for really not giving a crap about Kobe and his ego, but he’s obviously in over his enormous head.

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    Co-sign Jukai.

  • t moore

    Way to go Mike Brown!!!!!

  • Carolyn Carlin

    Let’s look at the cold, hard FACTS, Kobe Bryant has five Championship rings…..Brown has none! He is a good guy, but not a NBA Championship coach. He has never even played. Whether you like Kobe or not, he is still the best player on the Lakers in crunch time. I certainly can’t imagine someone putting Metta World Peace in thinking he could do better than Kobe. There are better times to make a point than when we are losing! Wake up Mike Brown before you are shipped out. Even Jim Buss has to think benching Kobe was a dumb move!

  • Faith

    I am very upset on the benching of Kobe like really Mike Brown who are you and what you trying to prove um go back to Cleveland with all that non sense making crazy calls all I forgot they dont’ want you either…

  • http://donthaveone Beberoni

    Isnt it amazing, its still all about Kobe. Maybe if he played team ball, they would have twice as many championships. I mean his selfish ego pushed Shaq to leave. That blew at least 3 more.

  • bike

    On one hand he says he’s upset about the coach benching him but wants to make sure that everyone knows he’s not criticizing Brown. Uh huh. Gotcha.

  • RJ

    If any coach in the league wanted to win. You don’t bench Kobe in a game like this… So what if he made a mistake, he is Kobe. I personally ain’t a fan of Kobe but he is the best closer in the game. Haters keep hating.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Smart words by the snake. It was just a weird, bad game all around.

  • catwink21

    I think it was a smart strategic move. It was to let everyone know… you can be benched… if you’re not playing at a high level. Hope Kobe understands this for the betterment of the team.

  • Rainman

    That was actually pretty mature of Kobe, good leadership by his refusal to openly criticize his coach. Good stuff.

  • dj

    Kobe doesn’t play any deffense and is not displaying the right attitude and is not being thee leader of a five time champ. Looks like Lakers fans are going to miss Fisher more than we thought.

  • Nuncio Bufardeci

    Been a Lakers fan for 25 years. Magic was my favorite growing up, now it is Kobe. Named my 2nd son Kolbe. Every time I look at Mike Brown, I think of Labron. Can’t stand him. Can’t stand Mike Brown. If I was Kobe, I would fire him.

  • Ramona Voge

    Mike Brown, You’re not in Cleveland anymore – and Kobe is not LeBron James who traditionally choked in the last minutes of the game! You cannot simply ‘bench’ our superstar, the Captain of the team, 13-time All Star, NBA leading scorer, etc. etc and tell us you just decided to ‘bring in a sub’! Kobe’s reputation deserves better than that, and so do his fans! You’re the coach, it’s your decision, and I’ve supported you this year, but I’m afraid you made a wrong decision on this one!

  • Phil juste

    Kobe is the best player in the NBA on critical time when the game is on the line at the 4th quater.Therefore, coach Brown make a big mistake.

  • malibuchuck

    Kobe had almost ran the clock out before forcing a fade away shot that the griz turned into a 4 on zero fast break basket. during timeout kobe “punched” the bench chair either out of frustration for poor shot or lack of hustle to defend fast break. Good for Brown for ‘subbing.”

  • Joel

    Its right decision for Mike Brown to benched Kobe He sucks in fourth quarter. As a player if you cant make a shot for being closely guarded, you can pass to open man, and put aside his ego.

  • Shifty

    I just wanna say that there have been so many better guards out there that have deserved the first all defensive team then Kobe Bryant in the past. His defense in my opinion isn’t up there with his alocades.

  • SikhWitIt

    Kobe was a complete ball stopper last night; he would catch the ball on the wing and jab step for a good 4 seconds while everybody else watched. They actually caught Bynum with a three in the key violation because of this. You have teammates! USE THEM!

  • http://rcalhoun5711 Yvonne Calhoun

    GET RID OF PAU HE PLAYED AWFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    You can’t honestly expect Mike Brown benching Kobe to teach Kobe something. If anything, Kobe is going to play even more selfishly after this lol. Mike Brown is “DFrance21 Posted: Mar.26 at 12:06 pm
    …. in over his enormous head.”

  • Mack

    “Leading this ball club, that’s not something I can afford to do.” Wait, what Kobe??? You better be the one leading cuz Pau Gasol certainly won’t be doing it

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    i think benching kobe would have forced him to recognize that Lakers can go to Pau and Bynum in the 4th quarter; but because they were playing the grizz, which is one of the very few teams in the league who can match up to the Lakers’ 7 footers, it didn’t work.
    you can’t teach a lesson when you pick the wrong subject as your example.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    I bet Kobe has a Grimace rag doll at home that he practice his “octagon” skills with.

  • http://AT&T Lakerfan

    The should have benched the two bigs and Kobe – no passion what-so-ever these three. Prima donas don’t accomplish nothing and that’s what those three amigos are – need players the likes of Zack, Milsap, Aldridge, and Al Jeff who are blue collars and earn their pay at the same time imposing their will on opposing players day in and day out. Lakers – no heart and passion what-so-ever…

  • Michael

    Kobe takes 27 shots and he gets criticized for shooting to much. he takes 14 shots and he gets criticized for shooting too much. At this point his shooting is just the standard fall back position no matter the circumstance.

    This has been easily Kobe’s best season as far as being a leader. The fact that this awful team is in third place in the West is a minor miracle. They have agruably the worst roster in the league after their top 3 players. Laker fans are acting like ramon sessions is the answer to everything. He’s a guy whos never played in a structured offense. He’s played on horible teams running up and down the court just compiling meaningless stats. I’m not to sure he isn’t just the pg version of flip murray.

    As far as last night, Pau went 4-14, and Bynum only grabbed 4 rebounds. Kobe went 4-4 in the third quarter for 11pts and head 2asts to bring the lakers back from 15 points down to take the lead. He took 1 show in the 4th quarter before Mike Brown took him out. He took 15 shots in the entire game, his shooting is not the problem.

  • Briek

    @Mack: Reading comprehension. “Leading this ball club, that’s not something I can afford to do.” = ‘As the leader of this ball club, [criticizing coach Brown's decisions] is not something I can afford to do’

  • OTB

    Actually, I agreed with his benching. Kobe was barely playing defense this game (I watched the whole thing), and Tony freaking Allen was out playing him. Since it was the 4th and the Lakers were down, he forced up 2 bad shots in a row, one of in which the rebounding lead to a 3-0 break for the Griz. Kobe shot it, and didn’t get back on D. On the ensuing timeout, he punched a chair, and WALKED OUT OF A TEAM HUDDLE while the coaches were diagramming a play. So yes, he deserved to be benched. I’m a really big Kobe fan, but his inconsistent efforts on D are horrendous.

  • Michael

    I don’t know how he could have forced two bad shots in a row when he had only taken on shot at that point.

  • OTB

    Also, after last night, I am convinced that Bynum is the best player on this Lakers team. He shoots a ridiculous clip, and 95% of the time that Bynum was in the post, good things happened. He was even hitting fadeaways and jumpers. I was impressed. Kobe, meanwhile, was killing the offensive flow. Without a PG that completely defers to him (like Fisher did), Kobe kind of looks lost out there, since the first option on offense is usually Bynum. Its like watching the 99-2000 season again. Bynum can now make a video saying “Ship his @SS out”.

  • http://fwiseman@cox.net mick


  • OTB

    @Michael. Perhaps I messed up the order of his shots. I know he took a terrible fadeaway over 2 guys that lead to the 0-3 break, but he also had a shot where for no reason he just launched a 3 with like 15 on the shot clock. I’m not sure if this was before or after he was benched, but I remember them being bad shots. There was one possession where he was ball stopping to the point that Bynum got a 3 seconds cause he was anticipating Kobe’s shot (instead he just jabbed around). Pondexter and Allen completely overworked him, especially Allen. He also failed to close out on Allen when he checked back into the game and the score was (I believe) 98-91. When he let Allen hit that shot, the game was essentially over.

    Bryant plays zero defense; he treats everyone like they are Rondo. Its getting annoying.

  • Hugbug

    Mike Brown knows now he messed up and if he fails to get to Lakers to the finals I would really be surprised if he’s there next year…Bottom line M. Brown really can’t coach, just listen to him and if it wasn’t for L.James where would he be…Maybe L.James would had stayed in Cleveland if he had a real coach…I bet my house M.Brown will never pull that crap again on Kobe again…NEVER…

  • http://www.nba.com Red

    I watched that game, Kobe was on fire. That was dumb, if he was being played tight, then run plays with Kobe as a decoy stupid.

  • OTB

    Kobe was on fire in the 3rd. The Lakers as a team were terrible in the 4th. The Grizzlies took the game by the b@lls when Kobe made that stupid foul on Allen for a 3 point play.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    I’m a queer

  • http://bleacherreport nikita johnson-woods

    I don’t feel there is a story here either,all above comments holds some truth :first I agree that mike brown has to prove himself period. I lived and went to lakers games era at the forum and the most impressive attribute that lakerland followers possess is that they support their players 101% and if you’re trying to hard to fit in a position that does not work well for you or them and integrity of our lakers they will let you know! my opinion from a spectator/have a real sense of the game, point of view, is he, (mike brown) is struggling a bit,not utilizing his players to the best of their abilities and not having common sense to logical match ups. for his sake he would hope to there next season. As, as far the leader of the team ,kobe, you either like him or you don’t but one thing undeniable is Kobe is the greatest in the game I do not care if you do not like his style of play the boy is fire!!!!! I am first to say I am a true blue laker follower from the days of the forum, magic,kareem,nixon,cooper,wilkes,worthy,reign, and even magic had some haters when first landed in la-la land so all the good and the bad goes with the territory.with all this being said it is going to be interesting to see how mike brown step up to the plate with his infamous defense tactic(s) which quite frankly it should not be such a difficult plan of plays to execute,yet I feel his chemistry with this team will be the game plan at the end of the day-word to the wise!

  • Kilo

    I’m glad he coached the team. If I was Mike Brown I would continue to bench Kobe until he got the ball to one of the bigs in early offense.

  • http://facebook Morris Harris Sr.

    Mike Brown has just disrespected the MAN,who has been the heart and soul of Lakers since Shaq left the team. If he has personal problems dealing with Kobe, he should consult with management before this silly move that he made at a crucial time of the game repeats itself. Kobe has 5 championship rings..he can prove his net worth….coach Brown has nothing to show. He has played relentlessly with broken hands,fractured knees and broken nose.. What else does he have to do to prove that he is a winner. Kobe is the best we have right now…cut him some slack or you’ll lose the best chance you’ve had to become a championship Coach. KOBE deserves more respect than you displayed during crunch time on National TV.

  • Cool Dude

    There was just bad coaching in general. Brown shoulda rested the starters starting the 4th, instead of running a half ass line up and no break between the 3rd and 4th, then subbing random people in with mixed energy.

  • robb

    It’s almost laughable how Mike Brown has no idea.

  • Golakeshow

    Mack are you drunk right now? Kobe is the best player this game has ever seen! He is also the best player in today’s game! Notice how I don’t even use the term arguably!

  • Golakeshow

    I mean mick

  • hugo

    notice that you not using the term arguably makes you sound like a dumbass that doesnt know sh!t bout basketball

  • Justin G.

    cosign Hugo. I also find it funny how Golakeshow is asking if Mack is drunk when he clearly is about 6 beers in right now with making those kinds of comments

  • Karen

    GET RID OF MIKE BROWN NOW!!!! Lakers will NEVER wil a championship with him as coach, stupid Buss Family!

  • anonymous

    this is a foreshadowing of what should happen next season: kobe coming off the bench. hes virtually a 1-D player who refuses to acknowledge bynum/gasol as the catalysts of the offense. the lakers should be playing through the 2 big men yet kobe consistently takes ill-advised shots. nothing is going to change with him and neither the lakers nor kobe are good enough (anymore) to negate his poor shot selection. the lakers have to be more efficient offensively in order to be effective and efficiency begins and ends with post players who can dominate the paint. not with a wing man who dominates the ball and kills seconds off the shot clock.

  • Drig

    OTB, if you wanna accuse Kobe of showing no effort (which is true), the same can be said of Bynum. Look at the game again. It was weird but he wasn’t in ANY hurry to return on D. He made FREAKING Haddidi look good. HADDIDI. Pau was ……… I dunno. I’m kinda lost on Pau right now. Pau had a bad game and Kobe/Bynum had subpar games in their own ways. What really CRIPPLED LAL was the lack of hustle from the bench and the ATROCIOUS D of Blake on Gay/Mayo which led to 2 or 3 straight buckets for the Grizz. And I cannot fathom how you can leave Blake and Metta on the floor and keep Kobe out in a Q4 which could’ve still gone our way unless you wanted to rest him ALL THE WAY like Pop does. But no, not even that??? GTFOH.

  • dee

    The closet the Lakers got to winning that game was in the 3rd when they fought back and had that one point lead. Kobe was the main reason they came back…having said that, he still picks and chooses when he wants to play D. Ever see MJ do that? I’m a Laker fan since the Showtime era and will always love the purple and gold…Mike Brown is not the answer but then again who? The Lakers had Phil Jackson: 11 time NBA Championship coach…and got swept by the Mavericks last year. Maybe it’s the mindset of the players nowadays. They’re spoiled and act like diva’s. Respect the journey instead of thinking the Larry O’Brien trophy supposed to get handed to them.

  • http://greatestfilms.co.uk Greatest Films

    Somebody suggesting Kobe is over the hill is a bit extreme.