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Yes, Kobe Bryant sat a key stretch of fourth quarter. So?

Mar 26, 2012, 9:35 AM EST

Kobe Bryant AP

With 5:45 left in Sunday night’s game and the Lakers down 14 points, coach Mike Brown sat Kobe Bryant Sunday night. He sat for the next 3:53 of a game where the Lakers were within striking distance of the Grizzlies (but never closed the gap and lost 102-93.

This has caused consternation among Lakers fans — Kobe sat during crunch time. It isn’t a sight we are used to. At Staples Center some fans started a “Kobe, Kobe” chant and the broadcast kept showing him on the bench. Mike Brown took heat for it after the game from fans.

I say “so what?” I don’t think he was wrong nor was this a big deal. Here are some quick thoughts.

• In the fourth quarter, the Lakers were -13 when Kobe Bryant was on the floor and +7 when he sat.

• The Lakers didn’t lose that game because Kobe sat they lost it because their defense wasn’t good — Memphis had an offensive efficiency of 113.3 (points per 100 possessions) for the game. To give that some context, the best offense in the NBA this season is the Thunder at 107.5 and on the season the Lakers allow 98.9. Come on, the Lakers let Hamed Haddadi score 10 points. If you don’t defend, you lose. (Numbers via Hoopdata.com.)

• After the game Kobe said he was frustrated but refused to make a big deal out of it, saying basically he was not going to throw Mike Brown under the bus. Or under the Buss. It was the right thing to say in public, but you know there will be a less polite private conversations about this between the two.

• Mike Brown is still experimenting with what works with Ramon Sessions in the game. When Kobe had been in before that quarter almost all the offense went through him, while he was hounded by one of the better wing defenders in the league in Tony Allen and drawing a lot of doubles. When he sat Sessions got Andrew Bynum some look (four quick points and it would have been more if a bucket had not been waived off by a Bynum travel call). Basically, the plan kind of worked, except where the Lakers defense didn’t get enough stops (see bullet point number two).

• One win or loss does not change the Lakers in the playoffs. They are pretty locked in at the three seed and barring an amazing winning streak or a big losing streak of their own, that is where they finish. What matters for them is figuring out a comfort level and what works before the playoffs start. This was a step — maybe a misstep but a step — down that road.

Of course, what they really should learn is that if they don’t defend come the playoffs they will be done early.

  1. africanballer - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    the grizzlies played well

  2. losangelasbasketball - Mar 26, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Kobe assaulted a bench chair during a timeout and violence towards bench chairs will not be tolerated on Mike Brown’s team….they have done nothing to you but provide a comfortable solution during timeouts and this is how you repay them??? How dare you sir…I got your back Mike….

  3. teehov843 - Mar 26, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Lakers lost the game when Mike Brown experimented with Steve Blake at SG around the 7 min mark. He had kobe at the 3, sessions at point, bynum and McRoberts. He should’ve had Barnes instead of Blake. This was b4 Memphis got the big lead, I think they were down by 2pts. Oj Mayo ate him up which is what started the grizzlies run. I say bad coaching but others may differ. I know he’s trying to get Blake some minutes because sessions is starting now but C’mon man, not when it’s crunch time!

    • limonadamas - Mar 26, 2012 at 10:35 AM

      I can’t agree more. Blake can’t guard OJ Mayo. MB left Blake in at SG for a looong time. Blake’s body language was just not good at all. I can’t understand that decision. What about Goudelock?

      Once Kobe left the game, the deficit went from 14 points to 8 points in a hurry. The first play after he came back, he posted up aggressively on the wing too close to Bynum, who forced a pass inside that got picked off. I think the next play, Tony Allen (the guy Kobe was “guarding”) got off a WIDE open jumper that went in on the other end. Ballgame.

      I couldn’t hear the Staples crowd chanting for Kobe from my TV, but if they did, that’s idiotic. Have the been watching this team this season? Kobe’s shot them out of a BUNCH of games.

      Kobe’s an all-time great. I really hope for the Lakers’ sake that he chooses to age gracefully. If he does, then that could be one that would positively differentiate his career from Jordan’s.

    • smoothaswilkes - Mar 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM

      1st – 7 minutes in to the 3rd is not crunch time. (I think you were trying to reference when Kobe was sat as being crunch time?)

      2nd – not sure this was bad coaching as much as it’s becoming MB’s norm. He’s been playing around with the lineups all season. It’s getting tiresome. Phil Jackson was not adverse to experimenting with lineups but Phil had a ton more leeway than Brown.

      3rd – Defense wins games. The Lakers didn’t play a lot of it. That OJ Mayo stretch was just a small part of why the Lakers lost the game. It was the entire first half, the second part of the third quarter, and most of the fourth. The only time the Lakers played well was the 15-0 run to open the third. Typical of this team. They need to keep and maintain focus throughout the games.

      So you can blame it on the coach but he didn’t play last night. He may have had a small hand in the proceedings but players have to play, and by play, I mean defense.

      PS – I’m not a Mike Brown apologist. I still haven’t made up my mind on the guy but I’m leaning towards not being a fan. Last night didn’t change my view nor did it help. It was just more of the same from him.

  4. jgray30 - Mar 26, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    I say dont play Blake at all. He hasnt done sh#t as a Laker. Goudelock is way better. Blake cant defend, score, and has no clue how to run their offense. Sit his ass DOWN!

  5. cbthegreat89 - Mar 26, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    You are right ! Bad coaching o.j mayo killed Blake

  6. loungefly74 - Mar 26, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    it’s not a big deal. kobe played the entire 3rd. he needed a rest.

    the Griz deserved to win that game. they played hard. congrats and good for them. i don’t think any team would have beaten them that night.

    as far as the lakers…the bench needs to do a “bench-only” meeting and figure out how to contribute better. barnes needs to slap all his bench pals in the face…and then slap himself.

    Go Lakers.

  7. zblott - Mar 26, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Is it really that hard to believe they did better without him during the 4th? It kinda fits the pattern for most of his career:

    http://www.behindthebasket.com/btb/2011/9/1/its-all-about-the-ws-kobe-bryant.html

  8. dv5454 - Mar 26, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Zblott – C’mon man. He’s Kobe Bryant.

    • zblott - Mar 26, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      And the Lakers have done better without him throughout his career than with. It’s called a fact – check the link above.

      • efueshe - Mar 26, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        5 championships and people are still writing crap like “Lakers are better without Kobe than with him??” What a sad sad world you live in my friend…

      • zblott - Mar 26, 2012 at 3:03 PM

        @efueshe
        Facts are facts. If a team seems to always win more games with someone hurt than when he’s playing (again, see the link which lays it all out), then it is at that point a FACT that the team does better without him than with.

      • loungefly74 - Mar 26, 2012 at 3:49 PM

        zblott, there are also facts that show the lakers are better with Kobe. (i’m not listing them) It’s not hard to pick and choose what numbers to crunch and twist words the way you want them to go. every reasonable person knows that, politicain especially…and some would say that is something you are doing with your article.

        just about every NBA analyst says kobe is a good player. he played a large and pivotal role on 5 Titles. he is the team leader and with that role, lets face it, he get’s the lion’s share of accolades AND disgust, rightfully so. since the Lakers have been somewhat successful during his time there, kinda hard to argue they would have been better off without him.

        as much as i disagree with the artlicle, i applaud you on your work, format, theories, etc…on your site. well done sir. it does bring up good discussion material and for that fact alone, it’s a good thing.

      • borderline1988 - Mar 26, 2012 at 6:47 PM

        The Lakers aren’t actually better without him – that’s ludicrous. And the Lakers wouldn’t have won 5 championships if Kobe wasn’t on the team. Do you actually think the Lakers win the 2010 Championship without Kobe? No freakin way.

        That being said, the only point worth taking out from your article is that winning championships is more about context than anything else. Kobe had a lot of obvious shortcomings (FG%?), but when he is constantly playing for the greatest coach in history and some of the greatest frontcourts in history, he can still win championships. People put way too much emphasis on it with regards to how good a player actually is. Derek Fisher and Robert Horry are not individually better than Lebron in any way, shape or form (or Kobe for that matter).

        Said in another way, Kobe would never, ever have won any championships if he spent his entire career on the Cavs, like Lebron did. Or Lebron most probably would have won championships if he spent his entire career on the Lakers.

        We could argue until we’re blue in the face about who’s better, Kobe or Lebron. But the 5 rings is a stupid, illegitimate reason to say one is better than the other.

        Anyways, zblott, I understand where you’re coming from, but when you come to stupid conclusions like “The Lakers are better off without Kobe”, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

      • zblott - Mar 28, 2012 at 2:29 PM

        @borderline, lounge,
        If you actually have some facts that show the Lakers are better with Kobe than without him throughout his career (not opinions), then there’s a real discussion to be had. If your stance is not based in facts that compare his time on/off the floor for the Lakers during his career, then you’re basically assuming you have a better point than me because other people agree with it.

        If you have these facts lf74, then by all means list them. I’d love to see what you have that trumps wins and losses.

  9. skids003 - Mar 26, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Brown was looking for a GOOD shot, not ALOT of shots. There’s your difference.

  10. foozeball - Mar 26, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    I’m sorry, not a lakers or Kobe fan, but that was the most biased article I’ve ever read. It accounts for garbage games that make Kobe look bad during his stint with shaq and then in the 07-08 year it says the last games of the season without Kobe don’t matter because they already secured a playoff spot. That’s only one example of the many contradictions. Also, as a Thunder fan I would love to see Kobe sitting in the playoffs bring on Steve Blake? as SG!

  11. progress2011 - Mar 26, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    zblott….good fact-check article on wins vs losses, when kobe is on the floor.

    However, kobe fans (not necessarily laker fans, I don’t believe they are the same) don’t live in reality. They live in a matrix, sub-diminsion of reality, where kobe is M.J.

    When in-fact he is a glorified, Harlem Globetrotter with a nice bag of trick shots. But when it comes to ” Fundamental Basketball “, such as passing the ball, the guy has no clue.

    I still believe, he should have played a few years of college ball and gained a better sense of ” Team Play” .

    Here are some more FACTS:
    Durant: Minutes-1891, Field Goal Made-479, FGA- 960, Total Pts- 1366 at 49.8%

    kobe: Minutes-1890, Field Goals Made-492, FGA-1145, Total Pts-1385 at 42.9%

    Dude has Jacked Up 185 more shots than Durant, but only leads in scoring by 19 Total Points.

    Enough Said !!!

    • Kurt Helin - Mar 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM

      I would argue Kobe is the most fundamentally sound player in the NBA. Has been for a long time. He is a good passer when he chooses to.

      • progress2011 - Mar 26, 2012 at 11:49 PM

        You said it all kurt….when he chooses to. The patience it takes to allow your teammates to get to their spot, takes a lot of discipline and ” SELFLESSNESS ” !!!
        The beauty that John Stockton, D.Rose, D.Williams, S.Nash and of course M.J. ran their offenses, are examples of ” Fundamental BBall ” ran by Superstars.
        Big difference from what you have seen over kobes career, who mostly pass only when he is triple teamed and the shot clock is down to 2 seconds.

  12. 00maltliquor - Mar 26, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Memphis played exceptional on both ends of the floor. They earned that win. Kobe got benched when he was being draped by I believe it was Tony Allen and he took up a bunch of the shot clock trying to shake Allen off while Sessions was running all over the place trying to reieve Kobe and Kobe never passed, opting for a tough shot that resulted in a miss. A timeout ensued and Kobe went to the bench and socked a chair in anger (which made the guy sitting behind it flinch like Kobe was gonna hit him, it was too funny!) and that’s probably what prompted coach Brown to sub out Kobe for Metta.

    Plus Kobe was the only starter in the negitive (-6) and Metta was the team leader +/- wise at +7. I was surprized only slightly when he took him out but it wasn’t a bad move by Brown. I know the defense was bad, hell, Hammed Haddadi had his way with 10 PTS!, but I chose to believe it was more because of Pau’s awfully off night but more importantly the incompetant play of Steve F*ing Blake.

    Dude was a team worst -17 (!!) and managed to do that kind of damage in only 15 min. of play, with back to back turnovers as soon as he got subbed in. Everytime the ball was in Blake’s hands it made me nervous, the guy is just plain awful. Mayo lit him up too.

    The entire bench sucked (not Barnes, even though he was a bench “best” -4, he brings energy and effort EVERY game) IDK why Brown just doesn’t banish Blake to Luke Walton’s old bench seat and just let Goudelock get the min. he deserves since he really is the best bench player we have. And play Jordan Hill for Christ sakes, hell, we gave up a 1st for him! Test him out and sit either McRobby or Murph or BOTH. I can’t take it anymore!!!

    • jimeejohnson - Mar 26, 2012 at 8:03 PM

      That’s no Old English 800 comment, ok? Excellent!

    • progress2011 - Mar 26, 2012 at 11:55 PM

      I can’t BELIEVE I somewhat agree with rott-gutt. Good objective post, from a homer.

  13. omniusprime - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    Sitting Kobe during crunch time shows just how pathetic Mike Brown is as a coach, he should be sat down permanently so the Lakers can find a great coach. The other reason the Lakers lost is that pathetic excuse of a backup point guard, Steve Flake. Time to cut this loser from the team, he hasn’t performed and didn’t deserve to be brought back this season. Ramon Sessions is definitely a good move and he’s quickly showing why getting rid of Fisher was a wise move.

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