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Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at 11:30 am  |  72 responses

Kobe Bryant Hopes the Lakers Can Start Over in the Playoffs


by Marcel Mutoni@ marcel_mutoni

It’s almost as though they don’t want to make the Playoffs, but Kobe Bryant continues to forcefully drag the Los Angeles Lakers along.

They were on the brink of disaster against the lowly New Orleans Hornets last night, with their hopes of a postseason berth dimming, and that’s when Kobe took matters into his own hands. Twenty-three fourth quarter points later (for a total of 30), and Bryant had helped give the Lakers life once again with a 104-96 win.

Mike D’Antoni and Kobe Bryant both admitted that the team coasted and tried to pace themselves against the Hornets, a philosophy that nearly cost them in the end.

Per the LA Daily News and LA Times:

“The first half, collectively our energy wasn’t there defensively,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Overall they get 96 points, not bad defensively but we just started off slow defensively, let them get out of the gates and gave them hope and now we expend a little bit more energy than what we should have. We’ve done it all year. We play around a little bit, see if we can coast for a while, and maybe it will work and then we get our backs against the wall and then we have to play twice as hard to try to get a win.”

And in the second half, Bryant took on Hornets guard Eric Gordon, who had 15 points in the first but finished with 22. Two of Bryant’s five steals came off Gordon in the final period. “I really was just trying to pace myself,” Bryant said. “I know fatigue comes in when you play so many minutes. So I really just tried to lay back and manage the game and turn it on at the right time.” [...] “It’s about conserving some energy,” Bryant said. “I know we got a tough one [Wednesday] night [at Portland]. The more I can kinda lay in the weeds, the better.” Then he added, “This is supposed to be a light year for me.”

severely short-handed Blazers team awaits the Lakers in Portland tonight, where they will try to increase their slim 0.5 game lead over the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final Playoff spot in the West. It’s probably safe to say we can expect more coasting and energy conservation from LA.

Kobe Bryant says he isn’t worried about playing so many minutes this late in the season—and it’s not like he has much of a choice in the matter, anyway. He views it as a necessary sacrifice for a chance to reach the postseason, where the Lakers can get a fresh start:

“I’m not worried about the summer,” Bryant said. “What I’m trying to do is get us in the postseason where we start the f– over. You know how you play that really bad video game where you’re just really sucking it up and you want to hit the reset button.” [...] “We need to get to the playoffs and hit the reset button and start over,” Bryant said. “The first part of the season was atrocious for us. But lately we’ve been doing pretty good so you just kind of want to hit the reset button and start from scratch.”

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  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    they better try and talk to stern about making sure their next victory is worth enough wins to become the 6 seed then.

  • http://twitter.com/jay258064 jay jay

    Go back to training camp get some chemistry, play DEFENSE and communicate than I think you guys can start over

  • http://www.facebook.com/simon.ly.1029 Simon Ly

    Timberwolves would love a restart button too

  • RayJr

    That first sentence hit the nail on the head. Just watching the Lakers play, it almost looks like everyone but Kobe is trying to lose to just get the season over with. Sometimes it looks like Kobe is not only playing against the opposing team, but against his teammates stupid mistakes or lack of hustle. The guy looks exhausted after every game lately.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.brodes Jay Brodes

    lets hope the rest of the team buys in! i got mamba and metta..not sure the rest. blake looks decent as the new version of steve kerr!

  • Drig

    Shut up Kobe. Don’t jinx it. Get the seeding first and then let’s think about restarting the season and whatever. By my count, we’ve restarted teh season 5 times already!

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    This ain’t the NCAA tournament, and y’all aren’t the 1999 Knicks.

  • bike

    “This is supposed to be a light year for me.”
    Ouch. Mamba bite.

  • Caboose

    It’s funny how everybody thinks Kobe is the only one doing anything for the Lakers. How’s his defense working out?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    kobe. playing like its a game of life and death. props

  • danpowers

    what a headline, breaking news. i thought he hopes they will get swept in the first round

  • Drig

    Name me one guy outside of LBJ who can play as many minutes as he has been playing the last 6 games and still be so damn effective. One guy.

    Plus, his D on Eric Gordon wasn’t bad vs the Hornets. He’s gassed out and it’s showing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.kennedy.940098 Michael Kennedy

    I can name several but who cares. These bums are finished, you act as if its blessing but its a curse and wont last long.

  • Caboose

    Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Melo, Paul. Know why Kobe’s defense looks fine on the stat sheet? That big guy who has a couple DPOY awards. Kobe’s awfulness at defense cannot be overstated.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Eric Gordon has been about as engaged in Hornets games as I have.

  • LakeShow

    How’s Pau’s offense and defense?

    How’s Howard’s?

    How’s MWP’s?

    How’s Steve Nash’s?

    How bout Earl Clark?

    How bout Antawn Jamison?

    We don’t even have to go deeper on the bench.

    Kobe has been the only consistent offensive threat for this team the entire season PERIOD. His defense has been bad allot of times, but like last night, his defense was key to them winning and has been several other times this year.

    The fact of the matter is Kobe is the one who least deserves any blame for the Lakers struggles, so that’s why he can talk, and that’s why we [his fans] let his defensive lapses slide.

  • Caboose

    So by that logic..

    DeMarcus Cousins can call out the rest of the Kings and we let his mental lapses slide.

    Kemba Walker can call out the Bobcats and we let his lack of point guard skills slide.

    Ricky Rubio can call out the Wolves and we let his lack of shooting slide.

    Freakin’ Nikola Vucevic can call out the Magic and we let his entire game lapses slide.

    Dwight is averaging 17 points on 10 shots a game; that is a reliable offensive option, btw. As good as Kobe? Of course not. But don’t pretend Kobe has had the team on his back, like for more than 5 consecutive games, this year.

  • Drig

    Durant was an oversight, I admit. My bad.

    Westbrook cannot. His play would be all over the place. His D in games where he logs heavy minutes takes a significant hit.

    Harden? Not sure about this. When Harden is on the court, Houston gives up 104.2 points per 100 possessions, good for a bottom 10 caliber defense. When he’s off, that number drops to 101.5 (for reference, the Miami Heat are currently allowing 101.4 points per 100 possessions).

    His PnR D is lethargic. Almost at Kobe’s level.

    His O would definitely be consistent though. But still, enough to make me think he could outperform Kobe? Nope.

    Melo? Wait, what? His team was recently in a slump with him shooting a horrible % with bad D in games he played 40 odd minutes. He’s just as inconsistent as Kobe is!

    Paul? I’ll believe it when I see him log atleast 40 odd minutes in back to back games. Hasn’t happened so far this season as far as I can remember. Usually, his minutes take a hit if he plays heavy minutes the previous game. Hard to go by that.

    All the guys you mentioned can play as well as Kobe can for 2-3 game stretch. Beyond that, it’s doubtful if their performance can be sustained.

    Also, Kobe’s played more minutes than any other player on the list. He’s played about 100 minutes more than Harden, 500 minutes more than Melo, around 700 minutes more than CP3 and about 150 more minutes than Westbrook. All this with Kobe being older than everyone else and hence having a weaker recovery rate. The additional fatigue is bound to slow down Kobe.

    Kobe’s D doesn’t look fine on the stat sheet or when watching the games. I never said it looked good. However, considering the circumstances, in which he has to be the PG, the perimeter threat and at times the cutter and his age, it’s hard to fault his D for the Lakers’ shortcomings.

    Kobe’s D does and early in the season, did pick up in tense moments of the game expect few games such as those vs the Spurs ( 3 point GW ). Unfortunately, right now, he doesn’t have enough in the tank by then because he’s so damn overplayed.

    Hell, look at Lakers’ last few games. By the time the game enters the last 6 odd minutes, Kobe’s gassed.

  • Caboose

    Nah man, Kobe has more ppg, he’s totally had all the Lakers’ offense on his back. What are you smoking?

  • roscoe

    dh12′s offense has been shakey imo…

    those stats as g8t as they appear don’t tell the whole story.

    he gets a ton of FTs and is still hampered by the back.

    next yr if healthy he should avg 25+ pts 15+ rbs imo.

  • Drig

    What is the blessing here exactly? It’s not like I’m thanking my lucky stars for the Lakers ending up in this predicament or Kobe running himself into the ground.

  • Caboose

    So the fact he’s NEVER averaged 25-15, means he suddenly will now? Dwight will put up probably 20-12 consistently next year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    Explain to me how making the Playoffs is going to all of a sudden change any of the Laker’s shortcomings? perimeter defense, transition defense and ineptitude against the top teams out West.

  • roscoe

    you know what i’ve noticed which has hurt LAL a lot is their shorter guards.

    even with Nash out there teams have been good at exposing the teams entry passes to the post which results in easy transition points and disruptive defense.

    i agree w/ u something seems to have been missing all year w/ their morale.

  • roscoe

    playing w/ other HOF quality players should imo ensure his dominance and those numbers.

    his health has been an issue in every 2nd of the back-to-back games and in most games on one day’s rest.

    dh12 is not right physically.

  • Drig

    Honest question : Have you been watching the Lakers regularly throughout the season? Because the Lakers were horrible with Nash handling the point. The Lakers were horrible with Kobe playing off the ball. The Lakers were ( and still are ) horrible without Kobe out there creating shots for others while draining his fair share of them.

    Dwight has been a reliable two way option the last few games as well. Key word being the last few games.

  • Drig

    lol……..Still, it’s gotta count for something right?

  • Drig

    Of course. Dwight’s the one who’s creating all the chances for others with his post-up play right? It’s Dwight’s passes that Lakers perimeter players are bricking right?

  • Drig

    It doesn’t. He’s hoping it does change though. Which is why I said there’s a very slim chance of us progressing from the first round.

  • LakeShow

    what’s “g8t”?

  • LakeShow

    Wait… You think Kobe has NOT had the Lakers offense on his back???
    LMAO, Caboosey…. Dude. Wake up.

  • Caboose

    Kobe has done the most for the Lakers offensively this season, by a decent margin. That doesn’t mean he’s carrying their offense on his back. That would have been LeBron in like 2007. Or Kobe in 2006.

  • Caboose

    His clever new way of saying great…speaks to how well this dude comments.

  • Drig

    He’s been the primary facilitator and perimeter scoring option. That classifies as carrying the O on his back. Esp. when the starting lineup resembled a Russian roulette at times this season and Dwight was working through his injuries.

  • Caboose

    That means that…
    Harden, LeBron, Eric Gordon, Pierce, Parker, Kemba, and Curry are all carrying their team’s offense this season. Since, you know, they’re all the primary facilitator and primary perimeter scoring option.

  • Conor

    22/3/3 isn’t disengaged.

    Kobe stole it from him twice at the end. He’s still got the skills, simply lacks the energy (and the inclination to actually stick to shooters for whatever moronic reason).

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    22-3-3 could be disengaged with Kobe guarding you. I mean, he did get it stolen from him twice at the end…. .
    Kobe has never averaged 2 steals per game…in his entire career. For example.

  • LakeShow

    I don’t care if he wants to use a number 8 in a word to imply the sound of “ate”, but just put an ‘R’ in there too if your using it as in “gr8″.
    But at that point your not even abbreviating for a purpose, your just being weird, so stop. Just stop lol.

  • roscoe

    what is this, “pick on roscoe day”? damn you. 17/10 for most are.

    here comes the wave.

  • Caboose

    Haha this is the same cat who loves referring to himself in third person…though you called me Caboosey…

  • LakeShow

    There’s only one player on that list that does more than Kobe and he’s the 4 time MVP.

    Eric Gordon(29 minutes a game 16-3-2 on 40% fg’s) and Kemba (17-6-3 42% fg’s) sure have been carrying the load…

    Pierce has been great, but only done it for half the season and plays 5 mins less a game.

    Parker plays 33 mins, and has a well oiled machine all around him.(don’t see how that’s “carrying your team”)

    Harden is close, but even he has another play maker with him in the back court, and solid contributors around him(Parsons, Asik, Delfino).

    Curry has a guy that has shot over 500(and made over 200) threes this season next to him and a solid/reliable post presence in David Lee.

    I’m not taking away anything from these guys, but Kobe HAS DONE MORE for carrying his teams offense than everyone you named except Bron.

  • LakeShow

    2002-2003

  • Caboose

    (I agree, I was just pointing out how awful his arbitrary definition was)

  • LakeShow

    It just reads out as “gate” and that doesn’t make sense lol…

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    DAMMIT, my bad.

  • shockexchange

    Horry Jr “hopes” they make the playoffs? This coming from the “2nd greatest shooting guard in the history of the L?” This is an outrage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    If you watch the games, it sure does seem like it a lot of the times.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    Most of the guys that lament about Dwight/Pau not getting enough touches on this site have probably less than 10 full games and judge everything based on highlights.

    Its equivalent to me judging the woes of the Wolves or the Rockets based on ESPN articles and glimpses on games.

    Alas, I wish it were as simple as “just give Dwight more shots!”

  • roscoe

    thanks for the compliment. well played caboose… well played.

  • roscoe

    ru really entertaining this… that’s g8t.

  • roscoe

    g8t.

  • roscoe

    that’s what i was going for.

  • Conor

    1.5 to 1.8 is essentially two steals per game.

  • Blarmac

    Kobe has some pretty great metaphors. ‘lay in the weeds’, ahhhh I see what you did there, Mamba.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    LOL congratulations on your ability to round

  • Alyson Miller

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  • The Seed

    Lakers vs. Spurs. Lakers win first round series, Guarantee!!!

  • Drig

    I meant primary scoring option. My bad. I’ve got no problem with that. The teams’ dependent on the players’ scoring and creating. ( Harden, LBJ and Curry I can vouch for. The rest I haven’t seen enough ).

    The degree to which each team depends on their star player and the impact the star player has can vary though. Kobe’s clearly a notch above them in this department.

  • ATL dynamite

    STOP THIS ALREADY

  • ATL dynamite

    They won’t even enter the playoffs to begin with imo.

  • Yi-Cheng Chen

    Utah and Dallas gave Lakers some hope.

  • Yi-Cheng Chen

    “This is supposed to be a light year for me.” I feel that, Kobe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    I don’t know man, if the Lakers get hot and the Spurs stay hurt…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    my question is who keeps upvoting it and encouraging her

  • Conor

    You seemed incapable since his name wasn’t “LeBron James”, so I thought I’d do it for you.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    That’s doesn’t make sense.

  • Redd

    It’s highly doubtful it’s a she lol.

  • RayJr

    It was great last night!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.brodes Jay Brodes

    kobe should win MVP after last night..yeah i said it! Lord stern fixed things before…make it happen!!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    the company that posts that, votes it up with it’s other accounts. Come on bruh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    sorry, I’ll go put on my dunce hat

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