After the 88-87 victory over the Indiana Pacers, the Los Angeles Lakers faced the Portland Trail Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back. Without Kobe Bryant who was resting, the Lakers held a double-digit lead before losing 98-84.
Following the loss, Nick Young says the Lakers “needed” Kobe in the last couple minutes of the game via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Nick Young says they "needed" Kobe Bryant tonight: "We're all so used to him being there in the last couple minutes of the game." (on TWC)
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 6, 2015
After Kobe rested for three games due to general soreness and the Lakers surprisingly defeated the Golden State Warriors, there were conversations on if the team was better without their superstar. While the ball movement has improved, Young acknowledged the Lakers needed a closer against the Blazers.
After averaging 35.2 minutes and having the highest usage rate in the NBA, Kobe has adjusted his game and has become more of a facilitator. In the four games since his return, Kobe is averaging 17.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists in 32.3 minutes and hit the game-winning shot in the team’s win over the Pacers.[divide]
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