On Sunday, Kobe Bryant returned to the Los Angeles Lakers starting lineup after missing three games due to general soreness. While the Lakers played well in the first half, the team committed 17 turnovers in route to a 116-107 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
After failing to win their 10th game of the season, head coach Byron Scott talked about Kobe’s minutes restriction moving forward via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Scott said Kobe's minute restriction will be more of "discipline" for himself & that he'll have to "fight that temptation" to put him in.
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) December 29, 2014
Through 27 games, Kobe averaged 35.4 minutes which was among the league leaders in his 19th season. During the week of resting, Kobe talked about feeling soreness in his knees, Achilles and back.
In tonight’s game against the Suns, Kobe played 32 minutes and was more of a facilitator as he finished with seven assists. With Kobe’s body unable to quickly recover like it used to at age 36, Scott has talked on numerous occasions recently about limiting his minutes around the 30-32 mark.
If Scott is able to fight the temptation and not play Kobe major minutes moving forward, it will give him and the Lakers an opportunity to close games late as they have really struggled this season in the fourth quarters.[divide]
VIDEO: Jeremy Lin On Having Kobe Bryant Back And Facilitating For Teammates