Tell me if you've heard this one before: Kobe Bryant puts up a huge point total, owing in part to many, many shots taken. Yet the L.A. Lakers still lose handily. It happened twice this weekend, first on Friday to the Sacramento Kings (No. 14 in the West!) and then Sunday to that old foe, the Boston Celtics. The C's came away with a 109-96 victory at Staples Center.
Kobe scored 41 in this game. The Lakers led by four at halftime, with Bryant taking 14 shot attempts in 14 minutes through two quarters. (He scored an excellent 22 on those shots.) In the second half, Kobe took 18 shots in 24 minutes, scoring just 19. Kobe was hot in the first half, felt hot through halftime, and helped shoot the Lakers out of the lead. In the end, the total looks grand, and without fault. Forty-one points on 32 shot attempts, that's fine. But it's all about how he got there, and even he knows he didn't need to dominate the offense so much in the third quarter.
Kobe took nearly half (seven of 17) of L.A.'s shots in the third, producing eight points. Meanwhile, Boston opened up a five-point lead and never looked back. Bryant has excellent teammates, including perhaps the most skilled big man in the game in Pau Gasol. And yes, Kobe scored a lot of points efficiently. But we've seen this. The other Lakers aren't involved, they don't perform when Kobe finally gives them a shot, and the Lakers lose.
The Lakers win more than they lose, and they win in June, so who cares? But that's what happened Sunday, and it's what happens in the regular season.