LA Lakers: Kobe Bryant’s 32 Shots Proves His Game Has Not Fully Evolved

Thursday night Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to score 26,000 points, but it's hard to applaud that achievement considering the circumstances surrounding the accomplishment.

Bryant scored a season-high 34 points in a losing effort, as the Denver Nuggets ended the Lakers' season-opening eight game win streak with a 118-112 victory.

Bryant has recently been praised for his growth, maturity, and new-found confidence in his teammates; but, the progress in those areas hit a set-back in the face of a complete 4th quarter Lakers' collapse.

Bryant's 34 points came on 32 attempts from the field in a performance that hearkened to the days of Bryant's storied past in the worst way possible.

With 4:21 left to play in the 4th quarter and the contest tied, the Nuggets went on a 11-0 run. The Lakers' response in general, and Bryant's in particular, proved that the team still has plenty of room for improvement.

For the first time this season, the Lakers looked unsure of themselves with the game on the line. This reality was illustrated by Bryant's impatience and ill-advised shots while the game was still in doubt.

At this point in his career, Bryant should be able to recognize when his teammates are struggling and respond accordingly. The solutions, however, are not always found on the end of Bryant's jump shot.

To be fair, it's hard to place blame entirely on Bryant because it was plain to see he was frustrated by the timid post efforts of Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol. The lack of perimeter defense from the Lakers point guards was also infuriating.

Nuggets' guard Ty Lawson took turns abusing Derek Fisher and Steve Blake off the dribble, and their inability to contain the perimeter was eerily similar to the Lakers' struggles in the past.

Odom also snatched a page from his past by scoring a season-low 3 points on 1-6 shootin...

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