Kobe Bryant's passing of Jerry West as the Lakers' all-time leading scorer will be forever a part of franchise lore. But as is often the case with The Mamba, the milestone wasn't reached without some controversy attached.
The accompanying loss featured Bryant taking 28 of the team's 73 total shots, indicative of an effort with few players making presences felt. Basically, you had Kobe, Ron Artest (15 points on nine shots) and... well... that's about it. The Lakers often appeared unsure whether the goal was to run the triangle or get Kobe a record, and Phil Jackson said at halftime to "get (Kobe) over the hump" so they could start "playing team ball." Obviously, the objective never came to pass.
You've already heard Gasol and Derek Fisher discuss the importance of playing inside-out and offensive balance. You've heard Phil offer a further two cents. With those shmoes accounted for, you can now get the perspective that really moves the needle:
-(1:45) Brian and I deem the 5-3 roadie solid enough, but felt it featured little truly great ball, a microcosm of the season as a whole thus far. Is this a sign of problems to come? Brian is a little more concerned than me about the lack of focus and execution, but even as somebody with no need to see January games approached like Gladiators fighting for their lives, I agree "fun time" is more or less done. Time to start the process of clicking.
-With that in mind, we discuss the question of offensive balance (11:57). The happy medium between Kobe making his presence felt and everyone else chipping. What constitutes "too many shots" for Kobe, particularly with a bad hand and this many weapons at the Lakers' disposal? Is there controversy brewing in the locker room?
All that, plus a prog-rock reference! While his ability to inspire wayward youth may fall short of Gene Krupa's, does any lyricist in music history make us think like Neil Peart?