Kobe Bryant had himself an atrocious game against the Kings yesterday, scoring 25 while missing 22 of his 30 shots and committing nine turnovers in 38 minutes of sad, clunky run. Old Man Kobe maniacally shooting his team out of games is something that's been happening a lot this year, but yesterday felt like a turning point.
The shooting performance itself—Kobe looked four or five steps slow all game, heaving up rim-clangers that were alternatively way long and way short—would leave anyone who saw it convinced that Kobe, now 27 games into his age-36 season, is truly out of his depth (Here's some historical perspective on just how bad of a game this was.) What should be even more alarming for Kobe fanatics everywhere, though, is that Bryant himself seems to now be aware of how far he has slipped.
After the game, Kobe admitted that he is indeed starting to wear down, and even seemed amenable to the idea of taking a few games off in order to rest his aching joints and limbs. From Yahoo Sports:
"I don't have much of a choice if the body is feeling the way it's feeling right now," Bryant told Yahoo Sports. "You got to be smart. You got to make sure you get enough return on your investment. With the amount of work that I do and put into my body and to get my body ready, for it to be sore as it is right now, sometimes you do have to consider sitting down."
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There's not event a specific ailment or injury that Kobe can point to. During his postgame scrum in the locker room, a defeated looking Kobe attributed his struggles to general oldness:
You almost want to feel bad for the guy! And then you remember that this is a man who yesterday was well aware of the fact that his body is betraying him and that he is simply unable to do the things he used to be able to do, and yet decided it was still a good idea to fire up 30 goddamn shots. There is something off in this man's brain.
Kobe finally admitting some sense of defeat is good news for the Lakers, though. Nick Young, who scored 27 points in 30 minutes off the bench last night will start in his place, and the rest of the team will probably be better off without Kobe on the floor: