DALLAS -- Kobe Bryant's post-game shoot-a-thon Thursday night after his Los Angeles Lakers again became the only elite team the Miami Heat can beat, didn't impress his coach or teammates as much as it seemed to wow the onlooking press.
To be fair to media brethren everywhere, the odd scene surely was quite the attention-grabber. It isn't everyday you see a superstar return to the court after a game to conduct a self-workout.
"I don't want to think about it. I really don't," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said when asked about Bryant's personal training session. "I mean, whatever. He felt the time to improve his shot was right away, so he was right back at it."
Bryant didn't practice with the team Friday at the American Airlines Center, although he was present, but did not speak to reporters. He took care of that in Miami, post-game and post-post-game workout. Friday was one of his regularly scheduled days off from practice, Jackson said.
The Lakers play the Mavericks Saturday night at the American Airlines Center, a game that could a long in deciding the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. The Mavs hold a 1.5 game lead over the Lakers and are up two games in the loss column.
And, give Bryant some calculated credit here, too. Miami has a practice court at its home arena just as the Mavs do. So, Bryant could have gone there in private. Perhaps, he wanted to be seen. Almost immediately, Twitter blew up with numerous reporters still at the arena working, documenting this oddity. Soon, updates were flying. Twitter nearly blew up with 140-character reports as Kobe hit the 60-minute mark and beyond on the court.
And suddenly, no one was talking about the Lakers' 94-88 loss that snapped their eight-game win streak and ended the Heat's five-game losing streak. Instead all the focus turned to Kobe's 8-of-21 shooting night and his dazzling, driven attention to detail.
The opportunity to get back on the court like that is rare on the road. Teams typically fly out after the game to their next destination. But, the Lakers stayed overnight in Miami and flew to Dallas on Friday. They held a 3 p.m. practice at the AAC.
Asked if he had any idea that his teammate had returned to the court for nearly 90 minutes and what it tells him about that teammate, Pau Gasol answered: "What teammate?"
"Obviously, he is very focused and, I don't know," Gasol continued. "He felt like he probably wanted to get that extra shooting or probably extra frustration [out]. We could have won, but we didn't, so there was some frustration, disappointment."
Gasol was then asked if he's ever laced up the sneakers like that after a game and hit the hardwood.
"No, no," Gasol said. "Usually I'm hungry after a game, so I need to hurry and go to dinner."