Kobe Bryant: A Great Facilitator

When you have won more NBA playoff games than any coach in history and have secured dynasties in Chicago and Los Angeles, you have every reason to be coy.

When Phil Jackson was asked between the first and second quarters at a time when his Lakers team looked to be in big trouble in Game Four at Oklahoma City against the run and shoot youth team led by 21-year-old legend Kevin Durant, the future Hall of Fame coach had a coy smile on his face.

The question asked with concern was about the status of superstar Kobe Bryant, one half of the dynastic link of superstars behind Jackson’s amazing success, the other being Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls. 

Bryant was not shooting in the manner expected and the concern was whether something was wrong.

The coy smile gave away Jackson’s inner feelings before he spoke.  No, Jackson responded, there was nothing wrong with Kobe Bryant.  He was expected to feed off, to do some facilitating, to deliver the ball to his teammates rather than create offensive momentum largely on his own.

The skeptics that emerged after a humiliating Lakers loss should have  listened to the wily coach.  This was one game and Bryant’s less than stellar figures for one evening did forecast a future.

Speculation by doubters was that at 31, Bryant had tired legs beyond normal expectation due to his many regular season and playoff games as well as international activity.  In addition, so much was expected of him and he had supplied so much of the Lakers offense.

The last Lakers loss of the series against the talented and youthful Thunder was that evening when concern was registered.  They prevailed in six games.

Now another series is in progress and the Lakers jumped away to a 2-0 lead over the Utah Jazz with a 111-103 triumph over veteran coach Jerry Sloan’s team Tuesday night at the Staples Center.
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers