Even when the shots are not dropping into the basket, Kobe Bryant remains determined that they will. He will keep firing away confident those once inaccurate attempts will soon morph into a hot shooting streak.
But even Bryant has his limits. He enters the Lakers’ (3-11) game on Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center averaging a league-leading 26.7 points per game albeit on a career-low 38.1 percent shooting. In the second half of the Lakers’ past two games, Bryant has shot a combined 7-of-24 from the field. Said Bryant: “My shots have been really short even though my legs feel good.”
Hence, Bryant spent Tuesday discussing with Lakers coach Byron Scott and strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco about changing his routine.
“It’s a fine balance at 36 trying to find a rhythm of strengthening the legs as the season goes on without wearing them out,” Bryant said. “We’re in uncharted territory in terms of trying to figure it out. But we will.”
Bryant openly envisioned spreading out non-game days that will entail different recovery approaches. Some days will consist of ice baths. Others will consist of weight lifting sessions on his lower body. And other days, Bryant will do absolutely nothing, such as during Tuesday’s practice.
Meanwhile, Scott conceded he could decrease Bryant’s playing time that has currrently entailed playing between 30-40 minutes per game. Bryant has averaged 35.7 minutes per contest through 14 appearances. Scott added his approach will hinge on how Bryant performs in the Lakers’ homestand this week, which includes games against Memphis (Wednesday), Minnesota (Friday) and Toronto (Sunday). The Lakers then have a three-game, five-day trip the following week with stops in Detroit (Tuesday), Washington (Wednesday) and Boston (Friday).
“It’s a work in progress,” Scott said. “He’s played 19 years. He knows his body better than anybody. But we can see also that watching the tap everything was a tad short. That tells me the legs were a little fatigued.”
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