Kobe Bryant's stat line shows he needed 29 shots to reach a game-high 30 points and that he missed 20 times from the field, but the future Hall of Famer managed to play nearly 44 minutes despite a sore back and contributed in ways other than just scoring to help the visiting Los Angeles Lakers beat the Washington Wizards, 102-96, on Friday night to end a four-game slide. Bryant added seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals and made 11 of 13 from the foul line in playing at least 40 minutes for a fourth straight game, and he's logged at least 30 points each time, including 31 in Thursday night's 116-107 loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. It was in that game when Bryant's back began to spasm, prompting the NBA's leading scorer to wear a heating pad during stoppages and while kneeling courtside waiting to re-enter the game. "I mean it's pretty stiff," said Bryant, who recently became the fifth player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points. "I mean, you know it's better going into tonight's game than it was going into Thursday's game, so it's very encouraging. I mean you sleep wrong one time, and all of a sudden your back's [acting] up." With 2 minutes 14 seconds left in regulation on Friday night, Bryant grimaced when he fell hard to the floor after scoring on an alley-oop pass from guard Jodie Meeks. Bryant got up slowly and made his way to the other end of the court with a slight limp, but moments later he tipped in center Dwight Howard's missed foul shot to give the Lakers a 102-93 advantage.
Ailing Kobe Bryant logs heavy minutes again
Washington Post | Dec 15