LA Lakers’ Kobe Bryant plays through sore knee in 112-96 loss to Memphis Grizzlies

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I was able to get a rhythm in the first (quarter) by playing longer minutes and sitting out the whole second,” Bryant said. “Trying to loosen back up was a little tough. But it was the best thing to do.”After all, Bryant said he “definitely should be ready to go” when the Lakers (5-26) play in Charlotte (16-13) today. If only the Lakers could solve their offensive and defensive issues as quickly. The Lakers looked disjointed offensively despite Larry Nance Jr. posting his first career double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds) and D’Angelo Russell (12) and Jordan Clarkson (10) logging double digits. Julius Randle went 3 of 8 from the field. Lou Williams shot 2 of 10, including getting stuffed at the rim by Memphis’ Michael Green. Nick Young went 2 of 7, including getting stuffed at the rim by Memphis’ Jeff Green. Roy Hibbert missed all three of his shots. “If you try to beat them one-on-one, there’s going to be somebody else waiting,” Scott said. “At times, we get stubborn at trying to do it ourselves instead of moving the ball.” The Lakers also hosted a layup line for the Grizzlies (17-16), who scored 42 points in the paint with Mike Conley (19), Jeff Green (17) Marc Gasol (16) points), Zach Randolph (16) and Courtney Lee (13) leading the way. “The effort is there,” Scott said. “From a mental standpoint, we’re fried and we’re not acting accordingly.” But that has happened for a while. The Lakers have lost six of their past eight games by an average of 27 points. Will the Lakers ever elevate their play?“They have no choice,” Scott said. “If we don’t, we have to make changes.”Yet, Scott said that will not happen until at least after the team’s two-game stand this week in Charlotte (tonight) and Boston (Wednesday). That means a few more days of potentially ugly basketball awaits, even if Bryant stays healthy. Memphis >> His right knee became sore in recent days, leading Kobe Bryant to conclude something he has dreaded for his entire 20-year NBA career. “Honestly, I wasn’t going to play,” Bryant said. But Bryant then saw the legions of Lakers fans surrounding the team bus outside of the hotel. The Lakers’ 37-year-old then changed his mind. “I felt awful about it,” Bryant said. “I thought I could muster up and play.”center_img He was right. He was wrong. The Lakers unsurprisingly suffered a 112-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday at FedEx Forum amid a disjointed offense and unresponsive defense. But Bryant’s game fluctuated, a 19-point performance on 6-of-15 shooting in 24 minutes showing how quickly his game could change amid Father Time’s unforgiving touch. After shooting 5 of 9 in the first quarter, Bryant missed five of his six shot attempts in the third quarter.“He’s still playing hard,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “Tonight was one of those nights where his knee was a little sore so I wanted to limit his minutes.”Yet, Bryant’s minutes hardly seemed limited. After playing the entire first quarter, Bryant rested the entire second quarter. He appeared in all of the third quarter and then sat in the final period. But Scott argued Bryant would “probably be pretty stiff and sore” had Scott given Bryant shorter periods between play and rest. last_img read more

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