His final scoring line ventured into dark, uncharted waters:
Kobe 0-4 FG through 3 quarters. Most FGA Kobe has had in a game without a make is 4 done three times (most recently April 2001 vs Knicks)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 13, 2013
The Lakers squandered all of a nine-point halftime advantage, and then some, during a disastrous, nine-point third quarter. But the Suns nearly matched their ineptitude with just 14 points over the game's final 12 minutes.
It was certainly a sight to behold. Or, perhaps, one best to avoid:
Lakers win 91-85 over Phoenix. Definitely one of the weirdest games I've ever seen— Mark Medina (@MedinaLakersNBA) February 13, 2013
On the potentially positive side, Bryant finished the night with more assists (nine) than field-goal attempts (eight). But that's exactly where the (somewhat) positives stopped.
He did not attempt a field goal through the game's first two quarters, and if not for a late-game bucket, Kobe could have finished the night with his first zero field-goal performance of the season:
Kobe 0-7 with 2 minutes left in 4th before making his first FGA (now 1-8 vs Suns)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 13, 2013
As it were, Bryant finished with his fewest field goals made since the 2004-05 season. But he had an excuse for that performance:
Kobe has scored 4 points or fewer only 3 times this century. Last time was 1/13/05, when he got hurt and left after 6 minutes.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 13, 2013
His shot chart read more like a Stephen King horror novel:
Kobe was 0-7 vs Suns before making his last FGA (with 2:10 left in 4th qtr). Here's a look at where his FGA came from twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/…— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 13, 2013
While the Lakers improved to 12-3 in games where Bryant leads the team in assists, a pass-happy (pass-obsessed, even) "Mamba" left the Lakers offense looking even more disjointed than they had at any point in this disastrous season.
Bryant essentially cancelled out his assists with eight turnovers, and his determination to distribute nearly resulted in yet another disappointing finish for the Lakers:
Kobe was so intent on getting assists tonight that he took the Lakers- and himself- right out of the offense. Over passing led to bad flow.— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerrTNT) February 13, 2013
Thanks to an encouraging performance from Dwight Howard (19 points and 18 rebounds) and 47 combined points from Metta World Peace, Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark, the Lakers maintained their 3.5-game gap behind the No. 8 seed Houston Rockets.
Needless to say, if the Lakers hope to realize their dwindling playoff hopes, they can ill afford any repeat performances from Bryant.