Stray Bullets: Thinking Through Kobe's Role In The Two-Game Losing Streak

March 7, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) watches from the court against the Washington Wizards in the second half at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 106-101. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

I dunno.... another loss like last night's actually made me feel better about the Lakers' road woes. I know, that probably makes no sense to you. How could I possibly feel better about yet another terrible Lakers loss?

Are the Lakers really a bad road team? At this point, I can't really tell. I guess I'd have some sense of relief knowing they just aren't good enough to get W's on the road. At least I know where the team really stands. If they suck, they suck. You can look at the roster and easily assume that to be the case. There's some odd sense of acceptance knowing your team simply isn't good enough, but I don't know if I'm buying that excuse.

Ignoring schedule losses, the Lakers have had their fair share of chances to have a much better record away from Staples Center. Let's face it, the Lakers have lost their share of games on the road in large part due to the decision-making of Kobe Bryant. Which explains why I question who they want to be versus who the Lakers are.

At this point, the way the Lakers lose on the road is just comical. How many games have the Lakers lost due to Kobe just wanting to take ridiculous threes? Five? Six? It just makes no sense to me that the same guy we watch destroy the Wolves, Kings and then Heat is so willing to revert back to such a lazy brand of basketball.

For a team still in search of itself, and what seemed like on the cusp of a real-deal hot streak, why does Kobe insist on burning wins in hopes of nailing the dagger shot? I'm glad if Kobe actually has enough confidence in his squad that he feels regular season wins are so important that they can be wasted in preference of the highlight shot. That can't be the case though.

  • I have to believe that changes in playoffs, right? Right?
  • The Lakers need the three seed, though, so they get home court for two rounds. I'm not considering the Clippers Staples a road game.
  • If the Lakers do in fact make the West Finals versus the Thunder (I suppose), they should be far enough along that they should win anywhere.
  • I feel like Kobe knows this, which is why he's more than comfy risking wins to give fans what they paid to see: Kobe hitting daggers.
  • This is the same Kobe we've known for 16 seasons. I realize why Kobe wants to take the dagger shots. Kobe, more than any other NBA'er I feel, understands what fans pay to see. If you're going to shell out hundreds of bucks to watch the Kobe and the Lakers play, no matter where, would you feel you got your money's worth on the chance Kobe has one of his nights and takes and makes his legendary Kobe-shots, or would you have the same satisfaction watching Bynum take jump hooks?
  • And that's the real root of our problem with LeBron. He isn't completely giving fans what they pay to see. Sometimes Kobe gives too much.
  • I don't get the sense this is ruining chemistry overall. Or yet I should say. Kobe has done a better job of realizing that rings don't make or break their career. They're his. So, he's gotta keep 'em happy too.
  • As C.A. once said, the Lakers "sacrificed another win at the altar of Kobe Bryant's greatness." Which I don't really care so much about this season. I'm enjoying every bit of Kobe's greatness while I can.
  • Call me a fool, but I subscribe to the NBA's version of legend making. Kobe's just gonna have to BE better if he wants to take 'em. Got be the man to be the man.
  • But if he plays legend-making ball in the Playoffs and sacrifices wins then? I'ma be mighty pissed. This team, like last year, is too good to end their season with a loss so early. Sure, they're flawed, but they're still good enough to go deep. I'll buy that they were mentally and physically tired last season. I can't accept sacrificing the potential this team has on some deep-seeded belief that an "on" switch exists. The fuse went out last season, and the current isn't as strong this year.
  • So....to make a long story short. I don't care about last night's loss too much. This team isn't quite where they need to be yet, but they've shown me something is still there. But I do think about last season...
  • I think the Lakers were kinda of tired of Kobe's public needling all while he wasn't even practicing. Tuned out. I think they can live with Kobe's legend-ball, so long as he doesn't pin blame on them when things aren't peachy. They can deal with it, because after all, he makes them look mighty fucking good.
  • And Kobe has done a better job of realizing that rings don't make or break their career. They're his. So, he's gotta keep 'em happy too.
  • This is why I understand why Jimmy felt he had to go completely different route from Phil. It got stale fast. Couldn't keep Kobe too cozy. It doesn't appear that Jimmy went about it the right way, but I understood the mindset.
  • Think Kobe's ever going to give up on Fish? I honestly believe that Fish got that contract extension and still starts just because Kobe says so. That's good and bad.
  • The Lakers knew they were letting Phil go, so why in the world did they give Fish three more years unless Kobe wanted it... that alone makes me re-think the supposed friction between Kobe and management.
  • Yesterday, Peyton Manning was released by the Indianapolis Colts in a tearful press conference, in which the sure-fire, first ballot, future Hall of Famer struggled to keep his emotions together as he parted with the only professional team he's ever worn a jersey for. For fourteen seasons Manning wore the blue and white of the Colts. He's unanimously considered one of the best quarterbacks ever, and viewed by some as the greatest. Up until missing last season with a neck injury, Manning had never missed a game in his entire career. He was as much a fixture in Indianapolis' huddle as Kobe Bryant has been in Laker's opening tip-offs. And just like that, Manning was gone from the only team he ever knew.

    Colts fans have been braced with Manning's departure for months now. Dollars and sense, aided by the leverage of the number one pick in this year's NFL Draft, softened the blow for what was an inevitable ending once the Indianapolis secured the right to find Manning's replacement.

    Do you think Colts fans knew Peyton's final snap in 2010 would be his last with the Colts? If they did, just how much would they have appreciated that last season with Manning under center knowing that was it? This is where I am with Kobe. I've written many times this season that I'm all in with Kobe. No matter how well he takes care of himself, nor how many new medical advances he takes advantage of, it could all come to a halt at any moment. Injuries, old age, or retirement. Kobe is far enough in his career that all three are strong possibilities to end his great career.
  • Yes, Mike Brown...Kobe should be considered more for MVP. I don't care what LeBron averages. He lost his right to rack up MVP's by continually letting the basketball world down when it counts most.
  • I just want Kobe to realize that the workout he gave Dwyane Wade last Sunday is the perfect Kobe. What's wrong with that Kobe all game, every game? Fans want to see that Kobe more than ill-advised three Kobe. Style points for degree of difficulty won't matter in 10-15 years. Just make this as easy as possible, Kobe.
  • We'll talk about this again in a few weeks. I'm sure, and it will be immediately after Kobe plays perfectly. Such is the life for a Kobe fan.
  • Follow me on Twitter: @wondahbap
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