The Los Angeles Lakers fell 109-102 to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night, though watching Kobe Bryant and LeBron James go head to head was entertaining in itself. James led all scorers with 36 points and Bryant, in his 19th season, hit another career-high with 17 assists to go along with his 19 points.
Down the stretch, Bryant matched up with James, touted by many as the most talented player in the league. After the game, Lakers head coach Byron Scott said Bryant kicks it into another gear when playing against James.
He (Kobe) gets a little extra gear and a little more focus when it’s somebody like LeBron. His antennas go sky high.”
Scott also said that because of just that, he has to be careful with how Bryant matches up for the entirety of a game. Though Bryant matched up with James in the final minutes, expending that energy for all of his minutes, is not something Scott’s willing to risk.
To the dismay of Lakers fans chanting ‘We want Kobe,’ due to Bryant’s revised minute restrictions, Scott sat Kobe for the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. After the game, Scott said although he was tempted to check Bryant in early, the current minute restriction is something he’s committed to.
Bryant will not play or travel with the team to Utah for Friday night’s game against the Jazz.[divide]
VIDEO: Kobe Bryant & LeBron James Talk About Playing Against One Another