On Christmas Day, an article was written by yours truly about Kobe Bryant costing the Los Angeles Lakers the Christmas Day game by trying to do too much for the team.
Well, here we are again, just after New Year's Day and another article written on the same topic. The reason why the same issue is being reiterated is because it's an important one. The Lakers have a solid and balanced team, but Kobe's insistence to try to bounce back after having a rough beginning to his night can do them in eventually.
Kobe started the night with just one field goal in the first half. He ended up taking 28 shots and only made six of them. He also had six turnovers and was a minus-17 in the plus-minus category. That's definitely not a recipe for success, and despite scoring his 28,000th point, Bryant hurt the Lakers more than he helped them Sunday night.
Kobe's shot variety was also ridiculously horrible and unbelievably atrocious. He chucked eight three-pointers and only made one. This game had fans shaking their heads and saying, "Kobe, what are you doing?!"
Perhaps the Lakers should've been pounding the ball more inside to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, who both had stellar nights in the box score, especially Bynum.
Bynum may have missed six free throws, but his work on the glass kept the Lakers in the game. He had 16 rebounds and 18 points. Gasol also added 11 rebounds of his own.
The bench was also solid, as Steve Blake and Metta World Peace combined for 24 points.
The Lakers defense was above par, as well. On the second night of a back-to-back and the sixth game in eight nights in high altitude, the Lakers kept the Nuggets under 100 points as they fell 99-90. The Nuggets were the highest scoring team in the NBA last season, averaging more than 107 points per game.
So who does it all come down to?
The game was tied at 90 with a few minute to go. Kobe had a costly turnover and another horribly missed shot that gave the Nuggets fast-break points to wrap up the ball game.
Have faith in your teammates, Kobe. You have great ones.
We saw it in the Chicago game and a little bit of it in the Sacramento game. Kobe tried to do too much and carry the team on his back, but his back isn't as strong as it once was. The team faltered because of him.
The numbers don't lie, either.
When Kobe shoots the ball 20 or more times, the Lakers are 0-3. Otherwise, the Lakers haven't lost when Bryant shoots the ball fewer than 20 times.
Whether it's because of ego or just by accident, Kobe needs to realize this and continue to facilitate the job for his teammates rather than do it all by himself, especially when he's covered by two or more men.
The Lakers get a much-needed day off and return home to take on the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. It's a winnable game for the Lakers. Let's just hope it's a more collective effort.