Do you want to want to hear something that makes Los Angeles Lakers fans’ stomachs turn in agony? How about it this: No starter for the Lakers scored in double-figures on Sunday, but five bench players did manage to score over 10 points.
Oh but wait, that isn’t even the worst part about their 106-94 loss to the Toronto Raptors, who were without Rudy Gay after trading him to the Sacramento Kings. That part would be how bittersweet Kobe Bryant‘s return became. When was the last time you remember five Lakers players going over 10 points, and not one of their names was Jellybean?
Don’t even try to answer that question because it’s honestly beyond any of us. You’d probably have to do months worth of research find the answer.
Now that we know just how badly Sunday turned out for Bryant and Lakers, let’s focus on why it may not be that big of deal after all. I may have discouraged the masses with the comments I made above, but don’t worry, I think I got just what you need — a little bit of faith.
Bryant’s return may have been equally anticipated to that of the savior himself, and I’m not talking about Ray Allen. As Lakers fans awaited their savior, they just knew he’d be there to lead this resurgent team to the playoffs and beyond. Their wait has finally come to an end, but a tiny bump in the road sent everyone on a small detour. I encourage everyone to have faith in the Mamba.
It was evident that Bryant wasn’t as confident of a player as the assassin we’re all accustomed to. He was trying, but the results just weren’t showing. Even though he only managed nine points and eight turnovers in under 30 minutes, you have to give him an A-plus for effort.
The man just began his 18th season in the league after winning five NBA Championships — the least he deserves is enough respect from fans, analysts and writers worldwide to give him a chance to get comfortable before we begin to throw his name through the wringer. After following his entire career, I have become wise enough to know that Bryant will be fine.
I admit, it was quite disheartening to see him struggle on a night that had to be pretty important to him, even after so many accomplishments. That’s a normal emotional reaction you have when you see a player you’ve grown to admire go through tough times. Still, that doesn’t mean I believe this is a problem.
Bryant will bounce back, and he’ll bounce back soon. The Lakers have played solid and well-rounded ball thus far. There’s no way they’re going to slide behind the leadership of Bryant. His attempt at several flashy passes tonight shows me that he’s ready to share the ball, or else he wouldn’t have a reason to work on those smooth overhead dimes.
Being a natural scorer is what he’s best at. He’ll bury this nine-point outing soon enough using a smooth jump shot as a shovel and wins to fill in the hole. I’m going to say this now and I’m only going to say this once: Bryant will lead the Lakers to the playoffs, making the NBA All-Star team as well.
If you’re a non-believer, then I imagine you’ll be having spoon fulls of your own words in just a few weeks.