In an effort to improve his ghastly shooting percentage of late, the OC Register speculates that Bryant might face the Thunder without the splint on his broken finger: “Kobe Bryant has been doing his practice shooting recently without the usual splint for his fractured right index finger, and he is considering ditching the support for the postseason, which begins Sunday. It’s no coincidence that Bryant’s experimentation comes right before the serious part of the championship defense. While working on his shooting before the Lakers’ game Wednesday night, he was not wearing the splint … Bryant shot 5 of 23, 8 of 24 and 8 of 23 from the field in his last three regular-season games. In the game before that, he shot 2 of 6 from the free-throw line. Bryant has said in the past that the splint compensates for lack of strength in the finger, which he can’t fully straighten because of the injury and gets tired easily from use. If Bryant’s finger is strong enough to go without any brace now, another concern would be whether it would be strong enough to deal with being hit in game action without splinted support. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a general interview with the team’s Web site that he has noticed Bryant without the brace on his finger but didn’t know Bryant’s plans.”
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