A torn ligament in his right wrist may be to blame for Kobe
Bryant’s shooting struggles the last two games, but the Los Angeles
Lakers star doesn’t plan on altering his style of play.
Bryant and the Lakers look to win their fourth straight home
game Tuesday night when they host the Houston Rockets.
After averaging 27.8 points and shooting 48.1 percent in Los
Angeles’ first four contests, Bryant struggled in the Lakers’
home-and-home split with Denver over the weekend, averaging 16.5
points on 26.1 percent shooting.
Bryant became the sixth player in NBA history to score 28,000
points in Sunday’s 99-90 road loss to the Nuggets, but it was an
otherwise disappointing performance. He shot 6 of 28, finished with
16 points and had six turnovers, but refused to apologize for
taking so many shots.
“I do what I do,” Bryant, who tore the ligament in his wrist
during the preseason, said Monday. “If guys are open, I kick it to
them, if they’re not, I shoot it. I play my game.”
Coach Mike Brown expressed no problems with the shot selection,
only praising Bryant’s toughness.
“He’s got to continue to figure out how to stay in rhythm or how
to get in rhythm with that wrist. He might not say it, but try to
hold a microphone with a torn ligament, let alone shoot it and make
sure you get a follow through,” Brown said. “That’s a bear. That’s
Playing for the fourth time in six nights could put additional
strain on Bryant’s wrist, but he did average 28.7 points per game
against Houston in 2010-11, as the Lakers (3-3) took two of three
in the season series.
Houston (2-2) has alternated home wins with road losses to open
the season, most recently defeating Atlanta 95-84 on Saturday.
Kevin Martin scored 27 points and Kyle Lowry had a career-high 18
assists for the Rockets, who led from start to finish.
Houston has allowed 108.5 points per game in road losses to
Orlando and Memphis, but has limited the opposition to an average
of 84.5 points in its two home victories.
“I think so far in the season, we’ve been showing two faces,”
said forward Luis Scola, who had a season-high 21 points against
the Hawks. “In the two home games we’ve won … we focused on
defense … In the two games we played on the road, we didn’t play
that way, that’s why we won those two games and that’s why we lost
the other two.”
Houston will need to perform better away from home as it opens a
three-game trip with back-to-back games at Staples Center. The
Rockets will take on the Clippers on Wednesday before opening a
home-and-home series with Oklahoma City on Friday.
Houston will also be looking for Martin to stay hot. After
shooting 1 of 10 and finishing with four points in a season-opening
loss to Orlando, he’s averaged 24.3 points while shooting 54.2
percent overall and going 13 of 25 from 3-point range.
Martin averaged 26.0 points against the Lakers last season.
The Rockets have lost three straight to the Lakers at Staples
Center and nine of the last 11 overall meetings between the