Jan 12, 2012, 2:28 PM EST
It’s the question Lakers fans are asking Thursday — can Kobe Bryant sustain this?
He scored 48 against the Suns Tuesday and 40 against the Jazz and long-time nemesis Raja Bell on Wednesday. Kobe now leads the NBA averaging 30.3 points per game. He is using nearly 40 percent of the Lakers possessions when he is on the floor and is maintaining shooting percentages right at what he has done the past few years. What torn ligament in his wrist? His legs have a bounce and quickness we have not seen in years.
If you doubt Kobe can maintain this pace you do so at your own risk. He can. He’s driven by the motivation for an MVP or to prove the hoard of critics out there. And when Kobe is motivated like this he can accomplish just about anything on a basketball court. Look at what Kobe said after Wednesday’s game, via Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register.
“I scored back-to-back 40′s with a (bleeped)-up wrist,” Bryant said, his eyes still gleaming at the just-completed achievement. “What does it matter if it’s still (bleeped)-up in the playoffs?”
Kobe also says his wrist is healing, getting stronger. Sustainability is not the question Lakers fans should be asking. Rather…
Can the Lakers win long term with Kobe scoring like this?
The Lakers were struggling adapting to new coach Mike Brown’s ways and Kobe did what Kobe does — he took on more of the burden himself. He’s scoring at a rate we haven’t seen in five years, back when he had to cover for Smush Parker and Kwame Brown.
Come the playoffs, teams that rely on one guy to score 40 a game don’t usually last long. They don’t win titles. Teams that get scoring from several sources — exploiting the best mismatch — do win. The Lakers can be that team. Right now they are not, and that’s fine against Phoenix and Utah in January. But if Bynum and Gasol are reduced to spectators for too long they will disengage.
If the Lakers are playing the same ball they are right now come March and April, that should worry Lakers fans. Because no doubt Kobe can sustain this pace that long if he wants to.
- Wednesday night NBA Grades: LaMarcus Aldridge is a flat out stud 2
- Arena evacuated after fire, Spurs-Timberwolves game in Mexico City postponed 12
- Milwaukee police release video, cite Larry Sanders for bar fight 11
- PBT Extra: Focusing on “epic showdown” between Knicks, Nets 5
- Carmelo Anthony: “We are the laughingstock of the league right now” 25
- LeBron says Wade is “getting that Kobe deal” in next contract. Should he? (63)
- Report: Dion Waiters accused Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson of playing “buddy ball.” (53)
- Michael Beasley finding a role, groove in Miami (41)
- The Extra Pass: Our awards at the quarter pole, plus Monday recaps (41)
- With game in balance, Jason Kidd tells player to “hit me,” spills drink, gets psuedo timeout to draw up play (40)