After several days of rest, including two games off, Kobe Bryant returned in the Los Angeles Lakers 78-75 loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday night. Bryant finished the game 3-19 from the field and 2-9 from beyond the arc. As a whole, the team shot just 4-23 from three.
Bryant insisted his poor shooting percentage had to do with the “quality of his shots,” as opposed to questions about either feeling rusty or not having his legs. In his post-game press conference, Lakers head coach Byron Scott said he expected Bryant to say the time off “has nothing to do with it,” but Scott acknowledged it being an inevitable factor.
I think this is going to be the way it is for the remainder of the season. He’s going to have some rust when he plays, because of the way we’re going to try to schedule his playing time. We’re just going to have to live with it right now.
Scott also promised he’ll be sticking to keeping Bryant at or under a 32-minute restriction, even if that means sitting him in overtime. As far as back-to-backs, Scott says don’t expect to see Bryant play on consecutive nights again this season. The most likely scenario this week is for Bryant to play Thursday against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center and stay home for the quick trip to Utah to play the Jazz on Friday.[divide]
VIDEO: Here’s Kobe Bryant Explanation Of Poor Shooting (And It Isn’t Rust)