The Lakers are one of the league’s worst teams. Kobe Bryant is one of the NBA’s worst shooters. Nonetheless, Kobe’s not coming out of the lineup, and head coach Byron Scott says he is willing to live with whatever Bryant brings him.
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Down the stretch of yet another Los Angeles Lakers’ loss, their 43rd this season, Kobe Bryant briefly gave his team the lead in a game they had no business winning on Monday night.
The sequence was magical, and nearly ended like a fairytale, with Bryant scoring 11 points in just under two minutes. Vintage.
But the host Indiana Pacers — and ultimately Bryant himself — saw to it that L.A. would fall, 89-87. The 37-year-old icon’s hot streak ended on this amazing shot:
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From that point forward, Bryant was as ice cold as it gets: Five shots taken, five shots missed — each one more wild than the last. The Lakers lost may have lost by just one possession, but after the game, Lakers head coach Byron Scott didn’t seem too upset about his team’s late-game execution:
Lakers coach Byron Scott on Kobe Bryant's shooting: "Sometimes you live and die with it, and I'm willing to do that with him."
As for Bryant, the stat line was a rather familiar one this season. Point total? A respectable 19. His efficiency? A horrendous 6-for-25 shooting effort (24 percent). Bryant is shooting a career-low 35.4 percent this season.
And his defense on Paul George was a nightmare, too, on Monday.
All this makes for an uncomfortable yet fitting end to Bryant’s career. He’s playing like he always has, firing up shots regardless of time, score or how open his teammates are. But who cares?
As you’ve probably heard by now, the Lakers don’t get to keep their 2016 first-round pick if they don’t land a top-three pick in the draft, so each "loss" is actually a win this season.
On that note, fire away, Kobe!
On another note, this remains a terrible environment for D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle to develop their games.