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Overall Grade: A-
You really can't fault Kobe Bryant for this loss, although his defense on Wesley Matthews could have been more respectful, as the former Marquette star finished the night with 22 points.
On the offensive end, however, Bryant finished the night with 30 points on 10-of-20 shooting. He made four three-pointers, grabbed six rebounds, dished out three assists and connected on 6-of-7 free throw attempts.
Considering the Lakers struggled the most when Bryant was not getting involved, his seven turnovers begin to make sense.
Despite the Lakers' steep 116-106 loss, Bryant walks away with a +/- of positive nine. He countered virtually everything the Blazers threw his way, but there just wasn't enough from the rest of his teammates.
Apparently Bryant and Dwight Howard aren't quite where he and Shaquille O'Neal were.
Fourth Quarter Grade: A
Kobe Bryant started out excellently but finished horribly. He took his eye off of a Steve Blake pass which sailed out of bounds and allowed Wesley Matthews to score at virtual will.
Worst of all, Bryant is shooting efficiently but rarely putting the ball in the air to begin with. As a result, his scoring prowess has been nullified by his making just two field goals in the second half.
23 points on 8-of-14 shooting is only impressive when you're not an all-time great.
Bryant did all he could during the first half, but it just wasn't enough. Dwight Howard was on his own in the third and fourth quarters, thus leaving the Lakers in peril as the Blazers began to heat up from beyond the arc.
Specifically players at Bryant's position, such as Matthews and Sasha Pavlovic.
Kobe's luck began to change at about the 5:00 mark, as Bryant completed an and-one to bring his total to 26 points. He also cut the Blazers' lead to 11 and worked with D-12 to flirt with cutting the lead to single-digits.
Unfortunately, it was just too little too late.
Third Quarter Grade: C
After making six of his first eight shots, Kobe Bryant has struggled to put the ball in the basket. In turn, the Lakers have not been able to keep pace with the upstart Portland Trail Blazers.
On top of struggling from the floor, Bryant has brought his totals up to five turnovers and three personal fouls. Previously performing at an unbelievably efficient level, Kobe is now appearing to be as out of rhythm as his team.
Not what the Lakers need from the glue of their roster.
Second Quarter Grade: A+
Kobe Bryant continues his hot shooting, draining a three-pointer for his seventh points of the night. Kobe would display unparalleled maturity as he passed up on a second consecutive attempt the following possession, finding Dwight Howard, who proceeded to hit Metta World Peace for an open three.
Unfortunately, Bryant has not honored Wesley Matthews' shooting ability and the former Marquette star has drained three buckets already. He's also committed three turnovers.
Bryant would respond to Matthews' sharpshooting by dropping in a second three of the quarter. Bryant would then hit a streaking layup and later drain two free throws.
If that's not enough, how about Bryant's schooling of Matthews for a third three-pointer of the half?? giving him 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
That means that Bryant has made 16 of his first 22 shots this season. Who besides James Harden is hotter in basketball?
First Quarter Grade: A-
Kobe Bryant missed his first shot of the game, but grabbed three rebounds in as many minutes. He is playing well within the system and appears far more inclined to see the team discover success than score his own points.
All who claim Bryant can't play unselfish basketball have been proven wrong for the fifth consecutive quarter. Kobe's quick two on the other end, meanwhile, proved that he remains a lethal scorer.
That smooth driving dunk reminds us that there is still some spring in those aging legs. Kobe has four points and three rebounds through one.