The Lakers then went into Phoenix last night as a different team, taking a lead into the fourth quarter, but the Suns mounted a late comeback to steal a win at home. Looking at the stat line it seemed like Bryant continued his unselfish play, posting 9 assists. However, Bryant’s last assist came with 9:18 left… in the third quarter. Bryant reverted to his default setting; he stopped passing and tried to take over at the end of the game. The result? The Lakers scored only 13 points in the final quarter with Bryant going 0-for-5 from the field with one turnover. It was one of the most deflating losses of the season. The leading story for Los Angeles went from three-game winning streak to talk of blowing up the roster.
We r on track. Gave one away tonight, let it slip away from us but I like how we are playing as a team. It will all come together this way.
While Bryant was forcing shots in the final quarter, Steve Nash took only one shot (which he missed) and had 2 rebounds and one assist. Steve Nash is the best shooting point guard to ever play the game and he should handle the ball a majority of the possession, every possession at the end of the game. In other words, Nash doesn’t handle the ball enough and Kobe Bryant needs to defer to him at the end of the game.
It’s as much on Nash as it is on Kobe. Nash needs to stop passing the ball to Kobe and consider other options in a game’s final minutes. Nash is a 17-year veteran, he needs to take charge and control the game instead of handing it off to Kobe for an eventual forced shot. Even Nash is hinting that Bryant is controlling the ball too much. After last night’s loss Nash said:
“Well I think I can help. Definitely, I think I can score and set up my teammates, especially in the fourth quarter. I can take some pressure off of Kobe, but those are things we still need to work out and find that balance.”
Nash is the key to the Lakers success. The Lakers have the best opportunity to win games when Steve Nash has the ball. The sooner Kobe Bryant realizes and accepts that fact, the better off the Lakers will be.
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