February 26, 2010

Kobe's Return: Mixed Results So Far

Two games after Kobe Bryant's return from injury, we've seen the best and worst situations.

In the game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Kobe was spectacular. He scored 32 points, made 13 baskets out of 19 attempts and was 3 of 4 from the three-point line. Most important of those treys was the game winning basket he made with 4 seconds left.

But in the next game against the Dallas Mavericks, Kobe was 9 out of 23, and made zero three-point field goals. He missed a potential game-tying three point shot with 25 seconds left. After that, the Los Angeles Lakers went downhill and succumbed to the Mavs.

You can argue that it was a back-to-back pair of games, but that's my point: Kobe doesn't have his legs yet after an 18-day leave from the game.  I'm sure there will be a lot of inconsistent performances from Kobe before the month ends. That means that three things must happen to make the transition easier:
  1. Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum should be more aggressive to relieve scoring pressure off Kobe
  2. Defense must be top-notch
  3. The back-up guards (Shannon Brown & Jordan Farmar) should step-up.
If you ask me, it could really be worse (see Tracy McGrady in New York). But to expect Kobe will miraculously be MVP-caliber at this juncture is wishful thinking.

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