Kobe Bryant took 26 field goal attempts in Sunday's Los Angeles Lakers loss to the New Orleans Hornets. Pau Gasol, L.A.'s No. 2 weapon, took just nine. That's typically a recipe for drama with the Lakers, and sure enough, Kobe indicted his Spaniard co-star in post-game comments. Yahoo!'s Johnny Ludden breaks it down:
Someone asked if Odom also needed to hike his scoring, and Bryant made clear that wasn't the problem. "Pau is our guy," he said. "He's next in line and gets the responsibility that comes with it."
Bryant and Gasol have long had this tug-of-war, with Bryant doing almost all of the pulling. [...] Kobe's shot the Lakers out of enough games - one Western Conference scout said L.A.'s recent five-game losing streak was the worst he'd seen Bryant play in years - to warrant the criticism.
The Kobe-Pau dynamic has become one of the great mysteries of the NBA, and everyone has an opinion. Is Kobe too selfish and unwilling to defer? Is Pau too mentally weak to really challenge Kobe and take the ball out of his hands in crunch time? Does Kobe shoot the Lakers out of games, or do the Lakers force Kobe to try to shoot them back in? The Lakers trailed by six when Kobe re-entered the game in the fourth quarter; he took nine of L.A.'s final 17 shots. He went 3-9; his teammates went 5-8.
If this series follows the normal Lakers' progression, expect Pau to be hyperaggressive for three quarters in Game 2.