Kobe Bryant had a bad 4th quarter, but said his teammates weren’t aggressive enough
After shooting 2-10 in the fourth quarter and watching his team blow a 13-point lead with 8 minutes to play against the Thunder in Game 4, Kobe Bryant: a) admitted he shot poorly and took the blame for the loss or b) talked about what his teammates did wrong and what they need to do better.
If you guessed “b,” then you know your Kobe.
“The shots that I took were tough shots. I was forced to take tough shots, and they didn’t fall for me,” Kobe said of his 12-28 shooting effort that included a string of four straight missed shots in the final four minutes. “I made a couple, felt like I got fouled on a couple but didn’t get the whistle. Still, in all, they were tough looks.”
So what can the Lakers do to improve these concerns?
“Either we have to free myself up to get better looks in the fourth quarter, or other guys have to be more aggressive. One or the other,” Bryant told the media after the game.
Kobe said the Thunder crowded him in the fourth quarter and began fronting Andrew Bynum. That’s why for the second time these playoffs, he pointed the finger at forward Pau Gasol.
“Guys have to be more aggressive. Pau’s gotta be more assertive. When he’s the guy they’re leaving, he catches the ball — he’s looking to pass. He’s gotta be aggressive. He’s got to shoot the ball, gotta drive the ball to the basket … and he will the next game,” Kobe said of Gasol, who committed a costly turnover with the game tied in the final minute.
But that’s where Kobe is wrong. He’s focusing on the wrong issues.
Henry Abbott of True Hoop points out that Kobe checked in with 8:18 left and the Lakers up 89-78. He went 2-10 to finish the game and saw the lead erased when he missed four straight shots. Whether he was crowded or not, he has to make those shots.
The Lakers play 4 on 5 basketball on offense because teams leave Metta World Peace open, therefore Kobe always receives extra attention. He’s accustomed to making difficult shots — it’s what you have to do to win playoff games. Heck, it’s what Kobe was doing through three outstanding quarters.
Kobe played a really good game, but he blew it down the stretch. He couldn’t match Russell Westbrook who was on fire most of the game. Kobe Bryant knows what it takes to win playoff games. That’s why he should know the loss was on him for his poor shooting performance in the fourth. He played a good game, but not well enough, and that’s the bottom line.