Kobe coaches Lakers from home via Twitter
Kobe Bryant had to just sit there and take it. Nursing his surgically repaired Achilles tendon at home, Bryant had to just sit there and watch his Los Angeles Lakers spurt and sputter and fumble around on TV from the other side of the country.
@gavinrossdale my fitness is at a stand still. I literally sit with leg elevated all day and move just for potty breaks.— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 20, 2013
And so it was that one of the greatest basketball players of all time was reduced to a Lakers fan with a Twitter account just like all the rest. A highly informed fan with expert opinions, but at this point a fan nonetheless, sitting there making coaching points and sending encouraging words out into the ether, cheering on people who could not hear him.
The Lakers, of course, did not steal one. The second-seeded San Antonio Spurs beat the seventh-seeded Lakers 91-79 in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series. The Spurs controlled an ugly game nearly from tip to buzzer, beating the Lakers despite being outshot (41 percent to 38 percent), hitting just seven of 22 3-pointers and getting outrebounded (44-43).
Coach Bryant spent most of the afternoon harping on two primary coaching points: (1) Pau Gasol needing to post up and (2) the Lakers needing to keep the Spurs' guards out of the lane.
What I would say if I was there right now? "Pau get ur ass on the block and don't move till u get it" #realtalk— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 21, 2013
He continued to make that point as the Lakers continued to struggle on offense.
And Bryant, of course, appeared to be right. Gasol and Howard both had good games, combining for 36 points and 31 rebounds. Those two went 15 for 28 from the field, too. The other three Los Angeles starters shot a combined 13 for 37, and the Lakers got next to nothing from their bench.
So it is tough to blame Gasol and Howard when they outplayed San Antonio's frontcourt, but Bryant's point was that the Lakers' backcourt could use all the help it can get. The two Steves (Nash and Blake) are not exactly the ultimate shot creators these days, so the open looks are most likely going to come from passes out of the post and ball reversals.
And that was where the game was won and lost on Sunday. Seventy-nine points is a recipe for a sweep. The bummer for L.A. was that it couldn't have asked for much more defensively. Tim Duncan had 17 points and 10 rebounds, but he shot just 6 of 15. Parker, playing on an ankle that may not be fully healthy, went 8 for 21 and Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green were a combined 5 for 18.
If the Lakers couldn't steal one on a day the Spurs shot it like that, it's difficult to see how they can win the series. Bryant was nonetheless hoping to see better defense on Parker, who had 18 points and eight assists despite the bad shooting.
By the time Bryant wrote that, however, it was already too late. The Spurs had led by about a three- or four-possession margin most of the day, but were by then threatening to turn Game 1 into a blowout.
And there was Bryant, laid out in physical discomfort and psychological agony, dispensing expert -- and helpless -- advice.
Nothing worse then watching your bothers struggle and u can't do crap about it #realtalk— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 21, 2013