Kobe Bryant has done something over his team’s last three games that he hasn’t been willing to at any point in his long and storied NBA career.
He’s sat them out, simply to rest.
Bryant, perhaps realizing just how fragile his health can be at this late stage of things, has been receptive to Byron Scott’s call for a lighter workload, at least in terms of on-court minutes.
But the Lakers head coach confirmed at Sunday morning’s shootaround that Bryant is in fact expected to return to the starting lineup for a home contest against the Suns.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 28, 2014
The Lakers won the first game Bryant was out, and did so convincingly, torching the Golden State Warriors for 115 points in a game L.A. led by as many as 24 points.
The next one didn’t go as well, as the Lakers lost by 20 in a Christmas Day matchup with the Bulls.
The final one (a four-point loss to the Mavericks in Dallas) was competitive, despite the Lakers shooting a dismal 36.4 percent.
Bryant simply being back isn’t the primary story; instead, it’s whether or not he continues to play me-first basketball, hoisting in the neighborhood of 30 shots while not even bothering to try to involve his teammates.
Nick Young had jokes (as usual) following the win over the Warriors, discussing how free he and his teammates felt with Bryant out of the lineup. While there is of course some truth to that, it’ll be interesting to see if Bryant takes notice and changes things up now that he’s set for a return to action.