Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers walks off the court as his team trails 79-77 after a basket by George Hill #3 of the Indiana Pacers with less than a second on the game clock at Staples Center on November 27, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
On Tuesday night, Kobe Bryant scored more than half of his team’s points in a loss to the Indiana Pacers. Although Bryant put on an incredible individual shooting performance, the Lakers team combined for only 37 points.
Early on, Bryant took on the responsibility of scoring with his team shooting poorly from the field. However, as the game progressed, the team became dependent on Bryant to score, and all other Lakers were unable to maintain any form of offensive rhythm.
The opening quarter set the tone. Bryant started 5-7 from the field in the first quarter and scored 13 of his team’s 21 points. Bryant’s teammates shot the ball poorly to start the game, going 4-15 in the first quarter. Pau Gasol, in particular, struggled with a 1-6 start to the game.
In the second quarter, Bryant lost his touch. He shot 1-8 from the field, but his teammates were unable to get into any form of rhythm. Dwight Howard was the top scorer in the quarter with six points on 2-3 shooting from the field. However, Howard only attempted three shots in the quarter because the offensive rhythm of the team was dysfunctional. The Lakers scored 12 points in the quarter, their lowest scoring quarter of the season. Even Mike Brown would have thought this game was ugly.
In the third quarter, Bryant, once again, took the most shots on his team. He went 3-6 from the field and 6-6 from the free throw line for 13 points. The rest of the Lakers would shoot 3-15 from the field following the halftime break and score only 11 points.
Through three quarters, Kobe Bryant had 29 points on 9-21 shooting, 3-7 for threes, and 8-9 from the free throw line. The problem wasn’t that Bryant was shooting. The problem was that Bryant was the primary creator in the offense and had already committed 9 turnovers to that point.
Since passing the ball led to missed shots and turnovers, Kobe did the only thing he knows how to do: score. Kobe went on the score 11 in the fourth quarter and shoot 3-7. The rest of the team shot 3-8 and scored 9 points.
On the night, Bryant shot 5-11 from three-point land, while the rest of his team shot 1-17 from beyond the arc. Kobe made 12-28 from the field. The Lakers made 12-48. Kobe shot 11-13 from the charity stripe, and his teammates shot 12-30 from free throws.
On Tuesday night, Kobe Bryant turned the clock back and put up a performance ripped out of the 2005-06 season when he was surrounded by Chris Mihm, Smush Parker, and Kwame Brown. Unfortunately, it was 2012 and this time around, Howard, Gasol, and Metta World Peace could have helped.
Repeating a quote World Peace said last Saturday, “It’s not about being the best player; it’s about being the best team.” Kobe Bryant may be still be the best player, but right now, this is definitely not the best team.