The Lakers played one of their better games as a team on Friday night against the Jazz, and it didn’t go unnoticed by their head coach Mike D’Antoni.
In speaking about Kobe Bryant’s 14 points, 14 assist, 9 rebound night, D”antoni suggested to ESPN L.A. that less buckets from Kobe could be best.
“If you win, is it really a sacrifice or is it, ‘Yeah, you played the right way?’ ” D’Antoni said after practice Saturday. “I don’t know if it was a sacrifice, is all, but (Bryant) set the tone. There’s no doubt about it. He played like Oscar Robertson played back in the day — 14 assists, nine rebounds, and he got easy shots all over the place. Some nights it’s 14 points, some nights it’s 30 points, but he’ll read the defense.
Star center Dwight Howard was definitely happy with less shooting from Kobe, and made reference to the fact that you have to feed the big men.
“I think for a lot of bigs, when we’re fed and we eat a little bit, we’re happy,” Howard said on Saturday. “Just like men. Give us some food, we’re good. We don’t eat, we’re grumpy.
“We have to play for each other to win,” Howard said. “All of us have to sacrifice part of who we are, part of who we’ve been, especially on the offensive end for the team. Still bring the same kind of energy, but we have to figure out a way to all put it together. I’m sure everybody on this team wants to be the guy to score, make plays and all that stuff, but we have to figure out ways to do it together. If you get everybody else involved early and throughout the game, it just makes it tough for teams to guard.
“(Bryant) did a great job of that (Friday) night. When he plays that way, it makes it tough for teams because he’s passing. He’s throwing lobs. He’s picking the defense apart. Now he can get the chance to go one-on-one, where he’s dangerous.”
I’ll take a wait and see approach to the new Oscar Robertson version of Kobe Bryant.