In only his second game back, Kobe Bryant was extremely impressive, notching his second triple-double of the season as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets, 111-103.
Kobe has looked much better since returning from a three-game rest due to fatigue. After the victory, he outlined what was key to him maintaining his level of play on Time Warner Cable SportsNet via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Kobe said key to playing like he did tonight is staying "between 30 & 32 minutes" plus stretching, ice baths, physical therapy, hydration.
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) December 31, 2014
Kobe’s efficiency has been the subject of much criticism this season as he has posted career-low shooting numbers across the board this season, despite being among the league leading scorers.
Averaging around 35 minutes per game was also far too many for a player in his 19th season, but in his two games back, Kobe has showcased an all-around game. So far, he is putting up 16.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, nine assists, and two steals since returning.
At the age of 36, Kobe’s body simply can not maintain the workload that he has put on himself throughout his career and he is coming to the realization that he must adjust his game to fit the needs of the rest of the team. If he can maintain this style of play and Byron Scott can keep his minutes around the 32 minute mark that he has been at since returning, Kobe and the rest of the Lakers will undoubtedly be better off for it.[divide]
Lakers Practice: Coach Byron Scott Talks Plan For Kobe Moving Forward