In Wednesday night's loss to the Utah Jazz, Kobe Bryant tried to play Mike Brown’s offense for three quarters. He tried to be patient, pass the ball around, and be a team player for the majority of the game. It didn’t work. The Lakers couldn’t score, and Kobe, once again, proved he’s just not that guy.
Kobe grew visibly frustrated when he committed a turnover, and when his teammates literally dropped the ball time and time again. Bryant was biting his jersey, screaming at the officials, waving his arms at teammates, and understandably angry.
With just over six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Kobe decided enough was enough and it was time for him to simply score. In short, he quit on the team system and decided it was time to play Kobe-ball. Bryant attacked the basket the same way he’s been attacking for the last 17 years.
In all honesty, the stretch when Kobe took matters into his own hands was the most watchable part of the game as a Lakers fan.
Whereas Kobe had limited himself to 10 shots in three quarters, he put up seven shots in the fourth quarter alone. Kobe had 13 points through the first three quarters, but the Black Mamba would go on to score 16 in the final quarter. He went to the line eight times in the first three quarters, but in the fourth, Kobe’s attacking mentality got him to the line nine times.
Kobe’s 16 points led the Lakers to a 29-point fourth quarter, their most offensively productive segment of the game. To put Kobe’s scoring in perspective, the entire Lakers team combined for only 16 points in the third quarter.
The "Kobe offense" didn’t only serve to improve Bryant’s scoring line. Through the first three quarters, facilitator Kobe had four assists and six turnovers — a dreadful assist-to-turnover ratio. Fourth quarter Kobe didn’t dish a single assist, but he also didn’t commit a single turnover. Apparently, Kobe being selfish and scoring not only puts points on the board but also cuts down on Bryant's mistakes.
Ultimately, the Lakers couldn’t play any defense, shot horrifically from behind the arc all night, missed free throws, and committed far too many turnovers. They shot 33.8 percent from the field and went 4-23 from three. The Lakers were out-hustled, and their defensive energy and execution deserved to be questioned. They deserved to lose to Utah.
However, Kobe’s fourth quarter showed every Lakers fan that Bryant's not okay with losing or quitting. As long as Kobe is on the team, every Lakers fan can still believe this Lakers season has a chance.