One of the big talking points postgame in our Lakers Late Night Facebook show was Kobe Bryant's shot selection down the stretch. At one point, he took over ten consecutive shots. Hardly ideal, to say the least. But as I wrote after the game, while Bryant's hoists grew increasingly forced as the game dragged on (in part because he seemed tired, which tends to manifest itself in bad shots, but for which he's remains responsible), the guys around him hardly without blame. It's difficult to blame the outcome on Bryant.
After the game, Phil Jackson seemed to agree. "I don't think anybody else wanted the ball," he said, in a fairly lengthy discussion of the topic:
The eternal "chicken and egg" debate around Kobe- do guys fade away when he shoots too much, or does he shoot too much because they fade away- won't be answered by Sunday's game. Clearly, though, going forward the Lakers' supporting cast needs to find ways to stay engaged when teams play Kobe straight up early in games, and he gets high percentage looks.
As a group, they need to figure out ways to succeed when Kobe, taking quality shots and exploiting what defenses give him to start games, has a larger portion of the offense.