The Los Angeles Lakers managed to squeeze out a close game against the Phoenix Suns Tuesday night, despite a dreadful shooting performance from Kobe Bryant.
Bryant finished in what became his lowest-scoring game since his second NBA season with four points on 1 of 8 shooting and eight turnovers.
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Bryant, however, made up for it in the distributing category, dishing out nine assists. And though the assist were a good thing, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni feels Bryant could have focused more attention on scoring rather than passing.
"He was trying too hard to get everybody else involved," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "You have to walk the fine line. He went way over the other line. He has to get back to the middle where he facilitates and is aggressive and it flows that way."
Bryant on the other hand thought his performance was pretty good considering they still managed to get the win.
"I thought it was great, actually," Bryant said. "Obviously, scoring four points, going 1 for 8, that's not necessarily a recipe for success. ... But it's not about us as individuals. It's about what we can do to help the team."
Bryant added that all was not lost by his lack of shooting.
"I've been doing that since January, when I was trying to make the right play, keep everybody involved, and then I try to get going a little bit," Bryant said. "But they took away my post-ups to see if the other guys could beat us, or maybe if I'd get frustrated or force things a little bit, but I just took the double-teams and just tried to make the right play."
Still, Bryant believes his poor play provided a solid foundation that will ensure better results moving forward.
"It might look bad on me individually like it did tonight," he said. "But I think in the long haul, defenses will have to think about it and play us. We'll beat them either way. It's not about us individually. It's about us as a team."
Bryant's been tackling this role for the past 11 games by becoming the team's floor general. He's averaged 8.27 assists during that stretch, ranking just behind Boston's Rajon Rondo (11.1 assists), the Clippers' Chris Paul (9.5) and New Orleans' Greivis Vasquez (9.4).