The Lakers trailed by a single point with 6.3 seconds remaining against the Thunder on Friday, and with a chance to win it on the game’s final possession, everyone in the building knew the ball would end up in Kobe Bryant’s hands.
Bryant was just 3-of-14 from the field to that point in the contest, however, and looked to be fatigued on a night where his legs simply weren’t there.
He received the inbounds pass anyway, of course, and drove left against Andre Roberson. Bryant pump-faked, rose, and fired a 17-footer that came up short.
Lakers lose, and fall to 8-18 on the season.
Head coach Byron Scott, when asked about the decision to go to Bryant in that situation despite the off night shooting, responded by saying simply, “32,000-plus points.”
Jeremy Lin, who finished the game 5-of-7 from the field, understands all of that — but admitted he’d like to get the chance at taking some of those game-winners himself.
“How many game-winners has he hit like that?” Lin asked, referencing Bryant. “I’m obviously rooting for him to hit that shot. I thought it was a good look. It was a very, very hittable shot. That’s just a matter of time before he starts hitting those game-winners.”
Then Lin added, “I like game-winners too. I would love to shoot some. But I get it. That guy is kind of the king of game-winners. He’s going to hit that shot. He’ll figure it out. That’s why he is who he is.”
Lin knows the deal, obviously, and to be fair, Bryant has hit the very shot he attempted countless times over a Hall of Fame career that’s now in its 19th season.
But there’s no denying that calling Bryant’s number in these situations — every … single … time — puts the Lakers at a huge disadvantage.