Kobe Bryant maintains wrist is healing
Each jump shot, three-pointer and drive to the basket doesn't just reveal Kobe Bryant's endless determination to rack up as many points as possible. It also reveals that the torn ligament in his right wrist has actually healed.
"The wrist's feeling stronger," Bryant said after Lakers' 97-92 victory Friday over the Cleveland Cavaliers. "I'm feeling stronger, I'm feeling more comfortable."
Regardless of Bryant's health, he's still managed to log three consecutive 40-night performances for the first time since March 2007. But his 42-point performance on 15-for-31 shooting also featured a four for seven clip from three-point range, a far improvement from his season-wide 24.1% mark from three-point range. Add all the numbers up and it shows Bryant has shot 98-for-196 (50%) from the field in the lakers' last seven games. The Lakers have won six of those games.
It's surely a sharp improvement from his six for 28 performance New Year's Day against Denver. But just as Bryant has vowed his New Year's resolution will involve less swearing during interviews, he has since rang in 2012 by finding better shots while maintaining his aggressiveness. Unsurprisingly, Bryant has leaned on his injury and the constant scrutiny around his shot selection to help push him along.
"It's just motivation," Bryant said. "Nobody wants to hear about a bad wrist as being the reason why I had a bad game; you saw that a couple weeks ago [against Denver]. Nobody wants to hear excuses, so I got to go out there and do what I do."
There's one thing he won't do however. That involves limiting his ball handling since he says that's what has caused him the most pain on his wrist. It remains a tall order considering the Lakers expect reserve guard Steve Blake will remained sidelined for three or four weeks because of fractured cartilage that connects the rib to the sternum. But the Lakers took the next step in rectifying that, as Derek Fisher and Darius Morris combined for 14 assists.
Still, the Lakers leaned on Bryant heavily as Andrew Bynum continued struggling with double teams and the Lakers' reserves continued struggling with only four points. At least for now, the Lakers can take comfort that Bryant's points doesn't come at the expense of a worsening wrist.
"We have to keep trying to make sure that we keep executing offensively so we don't have to rely on him so much," Brown said. "But it always a good thing to have a guy like Kobe Bryant in your back pocket."
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