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Kobe Bryant's increased mobility a good sign in Lakers' 99-94 preseason loss to Utah Jazz

The Lakers almost came within striking distance in unseating the Utah Jazz in an exhibition game Sunday night at Staples Center, and the 15,690 spectators wanted Kobe Bryant to reenter the game so he could provide the typical theatrics.

The crowd didn't care that the result of the Staples Center Shootout meant very little, with it being a preseason game. The crowd didn't care that Bryant has spent the first five exhibition games mostly interested in how much strength he can build in his surgically repaired right knee than improving his shooting percentage, let alone winning a game. And the crowd also didn't care that Bryant sat on the Lakers' bench with ice on his knees with 3:27 remaining in the contest.

They wanted to see the Black Mamba put on a show after an electrifying third-quarter performance. Instead, the Lakers lost, 99-94, Sunday to the Utah Jazz, another preseason game that's brought more significance to Bryant's rehabilitation process than any results.

"I'm surprised they chanted," Bryant said after scoring 19 points on seven-of 12-shooting. "Come on it's the preseason. They'd much rather see me in June, but I still appreciate it."

In return, the crowd also appreciated what Bryant brought against the Jazz. After going zero of four in the first quarter and sitting out the entire second quarter, Bryant's 19 third-quarter points on seven-of-eight shooting significantly reflected the team's increased energy level, his improved shooting stroke and his progressing mobility and strength. The latter factor has always served as the appropriate variable in measuring Bryant's rehab process than his shooting numbers, which entailed a nine-of-41 clip (21.9%) entering the Sunday's game against the Jazz.

"Not much," Bryant said when I asked him what he draws from the third-quarter performance in terms of his progression. "We're playing well. We're moving the ball well. We just had a few stretches where we put them on the free-throw line too much. But other than that, I think we did a good job."

So even if Bryant's shooting percentage in the third quarter signified little in terms of his knee, the improved aggression and mobility helped get him to that point where it looks like he's on the right track. Even so, it still made for some entertaining moments, a performance Lakers forward Pau Gasol described as "hot."

He grabbed a rebound one-handed and converted an easy dunk. He successfully made a turn-around jumper on the far side, a sign that Bryant's post work looks strong. And he essentially made three consecutive three-pointers, though one of them was discounted because of traveling. To top it all off, Bryant scored his points mostly against long-time foe Raja Bell, who still received boos from the Staples Center crowd after deciding to join Utah this off-season over the Lakers.

"I'm glad I'm not covering him anymore when he gets hot," said Lakers guard Steve Blake, who joined the Lakers this off-season for a four-year, $16-million deal.

The right perspective on Bryant's performances this preseason never pointed to how he looked in the box score, but rather how he looked on the floor. Though Lakers Coach Phil Jackson credited Bryant's third-quarter resurgence in bringing the Lakers back into contention in the game, the more pressing question involves something that's currently unpredictable. "Sustaining the effort is the mystery now in how to do that," Jackson said.

But Bryant's at least comforted in the fact that he doesn't suspect the process to be as painful as the 2010 playoffs.

"Last year I was on one leg and we still managed enough," Bryant said. "This year, I don't think we have to be as managed."

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

 
Comments () | Archives (38)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I missed the game because of this ridiculous Fox Sports West hold out by Dish Network. AHHHHH!!!!!

Everytime i look at the highlights on nba.com Devin Ebanks, Caracter or both are on the court i think it is good that phil jackson is giving them minutes to prepare them for the regular season .

Yeabbooiii.Kobe the greatest player of all time.MJ andLBJ players most amered by the referee and NBA...

Most pampered player i mean...

I know it's only practice.... and Blake is your anwser to? No "D" at all, and we though Fish was BAD. Besides going 0-7, there's a good possibilty this dude may be a BUST, a real BUST.

Kobe being Kobe when asked about MJ's comments...

Bryant didn’t take Jordan’s comments as an insult.

“It’s an accurate statement,” Bryant said. “I’m definitely one of the top 10 guards. It could mean two, it could mean one, it could mean four or five. I’m definitely one of the top thousand. Look, I know how he feels about me.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=mc-bryantlakers101810

Good Morning Laker fam,

The Rock and Roll HOF recognized this as the first Rock and Roll song ever recorded. It’s slamming and its none other than Ike Turner….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbfnh1oVTk0

Any favorite early R&R songs or songs about cars???

Morning LRob -

My Big 3 in the beginning:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJsQSb9RFo0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ofD9t_sULM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xuMwfUqJJM

Laker Dynasty - The Next Generation...

#17 Coming Up....

LRob -

Congrats on your Spartans...now ranked #7...

Lakers ranked #1 in my poll...

Laker Dynasty - The Next Generation...

#17 Coming Up....

LRob -

Question: On our draft tonight...how do they figure out order of picks...is it by shuffle...or the Commish decides order...

Laker Dynasty - The Next Generation...

#17 Coming Up....

4 months of waiting for

finally,

9 minutes of brilliance

----------------------------

Kobe made his first 3 from the right side of the court.

a few seconds later he was dribbling in transition on the left side:

am i the only one who EXPECTED kobe to shoot another 3??????????
the heat check one?

looks like RAJAAAAAAAAAAA did not watch/experienced enough shots in his "face" over the years.
more like the Kobe stalker, not stopper.
happy he is with the jazz, so together with "De-Ron" they can hate the Lakers.

if i'm Jerry Sloan, and i see that the Jazz, at the end of the season, is seated as one of the Lakers victims in the way to the Finals, i will finally retire.

how white his hair can get?

Lew,

Great big 3... :-) wow we love the 70's but there was a lot of great music in the 50's/early 60's.

Computer selects draft order and we won't know until about 20-30 minutes before draft....that way no one can try to have "pre-arranged" strategy.

Yep MSU #7...their best start since the Bubba Smith era...happens the same year you've been named honorary Spartan. Coincidence??? I think not!

thanx, i like the morning tunes.

here's an add-on with a different view:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XUAg1_A7IE

have a good day

Lew - great big three, but we must not forget:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=womy8Coyq7Q
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYlG7qb3iCs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1FK620bS7A
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orc50cWI6OU

And, of course:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sg9XI7bYrA

And that third quater last night almost brought tears to my eyes. It was... so beautiful! (sniff)

Kobe being Kobe when asked about MJ's comments...

Bryant didn’t take Jordan’s comments as an insult.

“It’s an accurate statement,” Bryant said. “I’m definitely one of the top 10 guards. It could mean two, it could mean one, it could mean four or five. I’m definitely one of the top thousand. Look, I know how he feels about me."

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=mc-bryantlakers101810

Posted by: LRob | October 18, 2010 at 05:09 AM
======

There you have it, the biggest difference between Kobe and Jordan. One is respectful to the history of the game and the other one is arrogant and enjoys distancing himself. Kobe could have simply said it's bunk or laughed at it or said MJ also is one of the top 10 guards, but he didn't. If Kobe acted like Jordan, he'd get chastised. Only His Airness can get away with comments like this. But that's ok because it's just Mike being Mike.

Oops... "quarter." A "quater" is a whole 'nother thing.

Hello Blog Fam -

I thought they'd pull out the W after that brilliant stretch by Kobe, but the bench gave it up. Not too worried - I know they'll be a lot better when LO is back on the bench. In the meantime, the new players are learning and growing. I mean, that's what preseason is for. Nothing to worry about. Yeah, Blake didn't have a great game, but his contributions in terms of causing TO's, slapping the ball back to his teammates, etc.. was good. They always expected him to contribute in that fashion as well as hit the three. His defense wasn't great this game, but it's only one game and it's preseason. He's gonna be fine.

I keep thinking how many more options they'll have when Drew gets back in the line up. They're going to be SCARY good.

Love that the rooks have been contributing, love the passing which is brilliant during parts of the game, and love that Kobe is looking better. His mobility looks better every game, and I loved the fact that he was hitting those shots over Bell. I can't stand that guy!

Gotta say that the Jazz's rook was impressive. He was actually fun to watch! The Jazz look pretty good, and we know what a good coach Sloan is. I'm curious to see how the gel, especially when they have Deron and Mehmet in the mix. They might be better than anyone's given them credit for.

GO LAKERS!!!!!

longtimelakerlover - yeah, that Hayward kid looked pretty good. Kinda what everyone hoped Morrison would be. He hustled, had a wide range of shots and good footwork, and, did I mention, hustled?

You could see Blake just gettin' down on himself for his off-shooting. It happens. Better in preseason than anywhere else. I liked some of his passing last night.

Oops - how can we forget: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVJ-R3yvSXc

He's like the Elgin Baylor of rock 'n' roll. There'd be no Paul McCartney without him... just ask Paul!

Oh, and the Bob Cousy of Rock:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lidFipyLG8k

Hi guys - long time no see....


Kobe was BRILLIANT last night. And I'm sorry but that was NOT travelling on that 3. Anyhoo... This whole technical foul thing is already a fiasco - imagine, just imagine, how much worse it's going to get....


Steve Blaker needs to toughen up some. If he's gonna get this down on himself for poor shooting in a PREseason game.... yikes.


I love - really love - Trevor 2.0

Have I mentioned before how much I can't stand Bell? Last night Kobe showed him that it is soooo much better playing WITH the Mamba than AGAINST the Mamba - no? Muahahahahaha!!!


MM - thanks for keeping your camera away from Caracter (or anyone else) putting on their underpants. My eyes are still bleeding from seeing that....


LRob & LEW (or anyone else who cares) - my morning commute music for your listening pleasure:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oA8UEWLUkd0

Have a great day - see you around the water cooler...

Fugees!!! Yeah, baby! I be jammin' now! Now I know what I'm listening to for work today: I go rasta today! Jah loves!

God Lakers!

Have I mentioned before how much I can't stand Bell? Last night Kobe showed him that it is soooo much better playing WITH the Mamba than AGAINST the Mamba - no? Muahahahahaha!!!

You said it all, sister! So glad he chose Utah. I could never really wrap my brain around that jerk being in our beloved PnG. *shudder*

63 Footer - yup! They've got some good stuff.

Here's another good one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA1PAkKD3Q4

63 Footer - yeah, Blake was getting down on himself. I wonder where that came from - possibly because he didn't have a great game the night prior? He did make some good contributions, so we'll see. Suck it up, dude!

GO LAKERS!

justanothermambafan - a completely listenable CD. I remember when it came out, I was working on a series, and I used to play it all the time before we'd roll camera. My actors and crew really dug it... up until about the hundredth time I played it.

"There goes that man, MAMBA".

Untouchable.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7VvG1exsgg

longtimelakerlover - I think he's feeling the pressure like Ron Ron (nope, not going with Tru Warier) did last year: he's put a lot of expectations on himself. I think when Drew comes back and the rotation settles down, he'll feel better. Again, like Ron, he's going to get so many wide-open threes, he's not going to be used to it.

63 Footer - I'm not going with Tru Warier either...

It's gonna be RonRon or Thriller.

I MIGHT - POSSIBLY - warm up to TDub... but I doubt it.

justanothermambafan - granted, if he plays like he did in Game 7 of the Finals, I'll call him any-the-frick-name-he-wants. Gotta love the Ron.

I am now rolling the biggest virtual spliff known to man and lightin' it up. My reggae (mostly the whole Trojan collection, all the various box sets, etc.) is blarin', my script is open, and my espresso is 'spressin'. I be ready for the day mon.

LOL - you're right 63 footer - WHATEVER the hell he wants. And from what I've seen so far, he'll be better this year than he was in Game 7...

Hey guys. Just a heads up. I got a post being edited and it should be up within the next hour. You may have noticed that in the playoffs and so far this pre-season that I put together a pretty comprehensive and lengthy post-game wrap in capsule format followed up with all the video the next morning. At least for home games, I'm going to change how I handle post-game duties just for the purpose of wanting to sustain my energy level. I'll do a quick video standup highlighting the main points of the game followed by a post with selected video on a specific angle (such as in this case Kobe's improved mobility). I'll have a few follow up posts in the morning on different angles of the game followed with a links post around lunch just so it's easier for me to get some rest, while still giving you guys something to eat. Because there was obviously so much going on after Game 7 last year, I took a similar approach. I wrote a post first on Artest and then I did a few items in the morning/early afternoon on Kobe's struggles, Derek Fisher's clutch performance and Sasha hitting two free throws. Hope that works for all of you

MM - "get some rest?" Do your editors know about this "rest" business? I don't know... sounds like you're trying to slack off for an hour or two out of 24. Next you'll be wanting some sleep. This is the way it goes... all downhill from here.

(sigh)

Oh, wait, the reggae just kicked in: all good MM! You da Man!

MM??? It's PREseason and you already need rest???

A healthy Kobe? I don't rememember a healthy Kobe since maybe his crazy 81 point game. Once his knee is at full strength he will be dangerous this season. Especially with his maturity and this cast of players. Bring back the MVP to LA! It's criminal how many MVPs have been given elsewhere when the best player in the league has been in LA since the turn of the century.
p.s.
Please God let Kobe be healthy for a whole season? One time?

And Kobe more yoga, hot yoga to be exact, keeps you limber and strong at the same time. Yoga will extend your career by 3 years at least.

justa - haha you're a tough cookie. well doing back to back games can be fairly tough considering most game nights i go to bed at 3 and wake up at 8. But I think it's more like taking preventive measures, knowing the marathon that is ahead, I figured this would be better for pacing purposes.

I've always thought that Michael Jordan is a jerk. Great player, but a jerk. He exudes pomposity.

MM:
Go ahead and pace yourself and get some rest - you deserve it! We don't want you getting burned out and being replaced! We need you for the long haul!


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