Monday, April 8th, 2013 at 10:30 am  |  10 responses

Mike D’Antoni Says He Has to Play Kobe Bryant Heavy Minutes

With the Los Angeles Lakers desperately trying to sneak into the Playoffs, Kobe Bryant’s playing time and fatigue have become increasingly troubling issues. According to Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni, he has no other option but to wear out his star player. Per the LA Times: “He’s 34 years old, ignoring bone spurs in his left foot and recently coming off a severe ankle sprain, but he keeps throwing himself toward the maximum limit per NBA game. He didn’t rest Sunday until 39.8 seconds remained in the Lakers’ 109-95 loss to the Clippers. This all started March 30, when he sat out only 23 seconds against Sacramento. He followed it up with 56 seconds of rest against Dallas. Then a veritable vacation with 43 minutes of playing time against Memphis before pushing back up Sunday toward almost the full 48. Why is he doing this? ‘Playoffs, probably,’ Bryant said. [...] ‘That’s the risk that we’re running with Kobe,’ Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said. ‘His legs, we’re playing a little bit with fire and we wouldn’t like to. But we’re putting ourselves in a position where we have to. Obviously, if that doesn’t work, then I should have done something else. Right now, I don’t know. I sit him down and we lose; that’s not going to work either. Kobe’s our best bet going forward to win games, and he says he’s going to retire after a year, so we’ll get our money’s worth for two years.’ Bryant hasn’t officially said he’s done after next season, his last year under contract with the Lakers. But he is demanding as many minutes as possible. D’Antoni isn’t stopping him. ‘I keep asking him, and he wants to do it,’ D’Antoni said. ‘If he says he feels great and his legs aren’t bothering him, then I’ve got to take his word for it. If he says, ‘I’m tired, but I want to play through,’ then that’s different.’”

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  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    Kobe bean Bryant is playing like its a game of a life and death. And that team keeps effing up.

    It’s sad to see #24 suffer down like that.

  • whooo!

    7 Players or Less – the 2012-13 LA Lakers

  • robb

    If he says his legs aren’t bothering him is because they are actually bothering him. It’s not about what he says it’s about what needs to be done. What are you there for D’antoni? You are the coach, if he wants to play but his legs aren’t there you tell him to sit his @ss down because he does more harm than good when he’s as tired as he is. Kobe’s like the guy who’s too drunk to drive but he insists he’s fine. Don’t give him the keys, you’re supposedly on charge, what the hell are you doing?

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

    Time for another closed doors meeting and one last season reset. This time its more serious than the other 4 times!

    Wait, the playoffs are only 10 games away? Oh…

  • spit hot fiyah

    nice. jalen rose co-signs

  • Drig

    Kobe is beyond criticism at this point as far as effort goes. Kinda wish I could say the rest about everyone…..

    Damn injuries…..Atleast we seem to have gotten rid of all our bad luck in one year.

  • BMamba12

    Kobe would listen to Phil Jackson if he was told to rest even with the playoff situation in jeopardy. D’Antoni isn’t using this team’s personnel the right way.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    actually, 9. The Lakers have 9 players who average more than 20 minutes per game. The problem is that they couldn’t stay healthy. But let’s ignore facts.

  • Kadavour

    D’Antoni’s rotations are sh*t. Ebanks needs more minutes, so does Darius Morris. These are guys who can give you great spells on defense. Antawn gives nice floor spacing at times, but sometimes his defensive lapses are not worth that.

  • Blarmac

    Coaching criticisms aside, I’m pretty sure if Mamba wants to play, he’s going to play. That’s just who he is.