What is The Kobe Agenda?
In a post game press conference this season, Kobe told reporters that he could ‘score 30 in his sleep’. Last week Kobe Bryant was named Western Conference Player of the Week averaging 33 points per game, and 6 assists to boot. This week he must have woken from his slumber as he has averaged 43 points per game. Kobe and the Lakers are 6-2 in the stretch.
After saying he could drop 30 in his sleep, he said ‘it’s not about the scoring’.
And it’s not, because they’re winning. In Kobe’s 4 game stretch of scoring 40+ points, the Lakers are 3-1. Tuesday night in Los Angeles the Suns tried to stay competitive, but when they closed the deficit to single digits in the final minutes, it was Bryant who drove past Grant Hill for a dunk, then in the next possession slammed an alley-oop home. Phoenix never got back within single digits.
The following night in Utah the Jazz took the Lakers to overtime. With the Lakers down 4 with 3:24 to play in OT Kobe drained a 3. On the Lakers next possession, down 2, Kobe drove, kicked it to Gasol, who also drained an open 3. The Lakers wouldn’t relinquish the lead. Kobe would even block Devin Harris’ desperation 3. Friday in Cleveland, the Lakers bench had one field goal, but Kobe’s 42 were enough to win.
Yet perhaps his most impressive night came in a loss to the surging LA Clippers. Despite struggling in the first half (3/12 shooting), Kobe willed the Lakers back into the game. Kobe scored 13 consecutive points in the 3rd during a 15-5 Lakers run, including a deep 3 with Randy Foye draped all over him. But it was the attitude he played with that stood out. Kobe could have gone 0-12 in the first half, but would have kept shooting.
Kobe is currently 6th all time in points, and will pass Shaq for 5th soon. Do you think that is on his mind? Kobe may be the most competitive man on the planet. He wants to be the all-time leading scorer. He also wants to win every night, which is why he is shooting so much.
The Lakers had a rough off season, losing Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown. The Lakers bench is not deep, and typically only 6 players get 20 minutes on the court. Steve Blake, averaging 24 min/game is out for at least a month with a fractured rib. The Lakers lack depth to support Bryant. They need Bryant to score a lot in order to win.
The team is undeniably buying into Kobe’s agenda. Kobe will pass the ball, only to get it right back. Kobe will call for the ball, and he gets the ball. It’s Kobe Bryant. When he is 3/12 shooting; get the ball in Kobe’s hand. The shots Kobe was taking early in the 3rd quarter against the Clippers would be unacceptable in any other circumstances. Then again, there’s no other player that would take them.
How long will Kobe’s 40 point game stretch last? 5 games? 10 games? All season? Kobe is not going to stop shooting, so don’t expect the best jump shooter ever to stop scoring.