Kobe Bryant was named the Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday.
Bryant led the Los Angeles Lakers to three wins and averaged 31.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game for the week ended Feb 24. However, Bryant's praise-worthy week was defined by more than the basketball he played on the court.
After the All-Star break concluded on Tuesday, the Lakers held a press conference to discuss Monday’s passing of Dr. Jerry Buss, the long-time owner of the Lakers. Bryant was one of the Lakers to address the media prior to Tuesday’s practice.
On Wednesday Bryant and the Lakers were playing against the hated Boston Celtics—the team Dr. Buss openly hated more than any other. Boston had beaten LA in blowout fashion only two weeks earlier, but the crowd and the home team appeared energized to make a statement in honor of their late owner.
After addressing the crowd and pointing to Dr. Buss’s empty seat prior to the rivalry game, Bryant played 33 minutes in the blowout victory over Boston and scored 16 points, passed seven assists, and corralled four rebounds. It was his least impressive performance of the week, but the Lakers won big over Boston, and that mattered more to Los Angeles than anything else.
On Thursday, a memorial to honor the late Dr. Buss was held at the Nokia Center in Los Angeles. Bryant spoke at the touching tribute.
Then, on Friday, the Black Mamba re-emerged to strike venom into his opponents. In a close game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center, Bryant scored 11 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Lakers to a 111-107 victory. He shot 15-23 from the field and also pulled down seven rebounds.
On Sunday in Dallas, Bryant played an all-around game with the Mamba striking late in the fourth quarter once again. Against the Mavericks, Bryant scored 14 points and went 5-5 in the final quarter. The Lakers won another close game behind Bryant’s lethal play.
Bryant finished with 38 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, and one blocked shot in 38 minutes against the Mavericks.
The win over the Celtics was more of a team effort, but the wins against Portland and at Dallas were stamped, sealed, and delivered by no. 24.
In the Lakers’ last two wins, Bryant averaged 39 points, 5.5 assists, and 9.5 rebounds. He also shot 63.6 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from behind the arc against the Blazers and Mavericks.
On Monday, Bryant starts a new week against a new opponent: the Denver Nuggets.