Kobe Bryant: Should Lakers' Defensive Strategy Change with Injury to Bryant?
Kobe Bryant Went Down with an Injury Last Night, So Should He Still Try to Defend Chris Paul?
After Chris Paul ripped Derek Fisher to shreds early in this series, the Los Angeles Lakers changed their philosophy on defense.
Fisher took a back seat to Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest, who took turns checking Paul, giving him different defensive looks and making things harder on the electric point guard who has helped carry the New Orleans Hornets as they tied the series at two.
Now, as the series shifts back to the Staples Center, the Lakers do so with Kobe Bryant nursing a foot injury he suffered last night.
If I'm the Lakers, I put Bryant on Paul as little as possible, even if the former MVP insists on it. Let Artest take the majority of those assignments and try to put as little stress on Bryant's foot and ankle area as possible.
Paul attacks the rim relentlessly, and if Bryant's trying to guard it on a bum foot, he's going to get torched time and time again. The Lakers simply can't afford to let the Hornets get confidence and momentum in a pivotal Game 5.
Phil Jackson has to set the tone early, let Artest check Paul, allow him to get physical and push the point guard around. Make the rest of the Hornets beat them. Chris Paul cannot be allowed to assert himself like he did in Game 4.
If that happens, then the Lakers are going to have their backs against the wall and that's not a situation anyone wants to be in on the road.
Bryant is too proud to take a backseat, but the Lakers can't have him trying to check one of the best point guards in the game on one leg.
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