Kobe might not like the idea of heading to the bench for a few games, but he clearly could use some rest.
The Celtics announced that they would be "shutting down" Kevin Garnett for a few more games, to give his injured knee - which isn't healing as planned -- some additional time to rest before the playoffs. The Lakers might take a cue from their storied rivals, and consider doing the same with their superstar, Kobe Bryant.
Now of course, Bryant isn't recovering from anything as serious as Garnett's knee injury, but he is suffering from something that could similarly prevent his team from winning a championship: fatigue. Kobe has shot just 63-of-167 over his past eight games, good for a field goal percentage of a little over 37 percent. And only once during that stretch has he shot over 40 percent in a single game, when he made 10-of-18 shots in Detroit against the Pistons.
The man is tired.
So why not give Bryant some much-needed time off before the post-season? The Lakers basically have nothing left to play for at this point. They've locked up the number one seed in the Western Conference, and trail the Cavaliers by three games for the best record in the league, and home court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Cavs went a ridiculous 16-1 in March, and don't look like a team ready to drop three of it's final eight to end the season.
The only problem with this idea is convincing the ultra-competitive Bryant that he should indeed sit out some games and get some rest.
Kobe played in Atlanta with an ankle injury and a queasy stomach, thanks to some medication that was supposed to help the injury not agreeing with him. He'll play through anything, which is why Phil Jackson needs to step in and make Bryant sit for a few games.
Looking at the Lakers' schedule, they'd be wise to have Bryant sit out for the next five games. That would give him 10 calendar days of rest -- just enough time to get some fresh legs for the team's final three games of the regular season, and just enough time to get back in the swing of things before the start of the playoffs.
This is the plan of action the Lakers should take, if they want their superstar to be feeling as good as possible before they try to make a run at a championship. Knowing how Kobe and Phil tend to operate, however, the best we can hope for is that he'll get at least a couple of nights off before the grueling playoffs begin in just a few short weeks.