(Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant has turned to more of a facilitator since he returned 4 games ago after taking some time off to rest his tired body, but in crunch time and with the game on the line he is still his same old aggressive self, as he was on Sunday night when he returned in the 4th quarter with 5:54 to play and the Lakers down 77-74. Bryant scored 9 points including the right handed tear drop in the paint with 12 seconds remaining to put up the Lakers for good at 88-87.
Highlight of Kobe’s game winning shot
Bryant scored 20 points on 7 for 14 from the field; he added 6 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals to his stat line on the night. The performance on Sunday for Bryant has been similar to each of the last 4 games since his return. Bryant is averaging 17 points, 8.5 rebounds, 8 assists and shooting 46.9 percent in the last 4 games; the Lakers are 2-2 in that span.
“I have many faults, but one of my strengths is that I can be realistic and that I can build around that,” Bryant said about his change in his approach. “I have to understand my weaknesses, what I can’t do, accept it and then try to dominate.”
Nick Young led the Lakers in scoring on the night, scoring 22 points off the bench with 10 of those points coming in the crucial 4th quarter.
Neither team shot well on the night with both shooting below 39 percent, but the Pacers were able to compete due to dominating the boards, 50 to the Lakers 37. The 16-5 advantage in the offensive rebound category is what provided the Pacers a huge edge with nabbing extra possessions.
The Lakers answered the disparity in rebounding by getting to the line and capitalizing. The Lakers made 28 of their 30 free throw attempts to the Pacers 13 makes on 18 attempts.
The Pacers had 6 players scoring in double figures, led by C.J. Miles with 19 points.
The win improves the Lakers record to 11-23 which keeps them in the 14th spot in the Western Conference.
The Lakers fly up to Portland to face the Trailblazers on Monday. Both Kobe Bryant (rest) and Wesley Johnson (strained hip) have been ruled out for the game in Portland.