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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant relies on supporting cast amid exhaustion in 106-96 win over Detroit

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Bryant’s 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting, 13 assists and 10 turnovers in 34 minutes featured him laboring as he missed his first six shots in his first 22 minutes of play. But just like that, Bryant soon morphed back into himself and went on a 12-point, third-quarter scoring binge. The Lakers also fielded a balanced offense to ease Bryant’s burden, including Jordan Hill (22 points), Nick Young (19 points), Carlos Boozer (14 points), Wesley Johnson (13 points) and Jeremy Lin (11 points). Hill took Bryant’s place as the team’s closer by scoring eight consecutive points for a 96-87 cushion with 3:46 remaining.This marked a trying time for the 36-year-old Bryant, who skipped the morning shootaround so he could spend most of the day sleeping, having ice baths, stretching and taking antibiotics. “What I got, man, comes from ‘chronos,’” Bryant said, facetiously. “You can look that up.”That prompted reporters to furiously search the term, a mythical reference describing the passage of time. Bryant only laughed when informed about the discovery. Fortunately for the Lakers (5-13), they mustered a two-game winning streak and figured out this dynamic against a Pistons (3-15) team that ranks toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference. After all, the Lakers are 4-0 against such teams and trail only slightly the Brooklyn Nets (7-9) for the Eastern Conference’s eighth playoff seed.“It would be nice if we were in the East right now,” Scott said. “We would be right there.” But back to Bryant, whose health and play remains the over-arching storyline for the Lakers’ 2014-15 season.“This has nothing to do with injury,” Scott said. “This is all about trying to preserve his body as much as possible and let him get rest. Recovery time is the most important thing right now. We want him to be as strong as he can be for the games.”Bryant hardly looked that way at first. He missed an open layup. He fumbled passes. Once his shots continuously came up short, Bryant became a facilitator. Then, Bryant started his third-quarter scoring tear that included a 19-foot fade away jumper, a reverse layup and a 27-foot 3-pointer. He left the game with the Lakers holding an 80-60 lead with 1:50 left in the third quarter.“I told him, ‘Hopefully you don’t have to play the rest of the night,’” said Scott, mindful the Lakers play on Wednesday in Washington (11-5). But Scott sent his starters in as the Lakers’ lead dwindled to 88-78 with 6:39 remaining to secure the win.“He’ll get a bunch of rest and we’ll see how he feels game time,” Scott said. “Hopefully I can give him more rest.”At least for one night, Bryant managed to push through while his teammates shouldered the burden.center_img AUBURN HILLS, Mich. >> The day started for Kobe Bryant staying in his hotel room, hopeful he could recover from apparent exhaustion.“I was tired as (bleep),” Bryant said.Bryant’s day continued with Lakers coach Byron Scott recalling his star player giving “me the thumbs up when we got on the bus” to indicate he would still play. But the Lakers’ 106-96 victory on Tuesday over the Detroit Pistons at the Palace highlighted what will likely become season-long developments.last_img

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