Lakers’ Kobe Bryant plays more at fans’ request in 110-102 loss to New Orleans

first_imgThe noise level reached fever pitch. Some fans gave a standing ovation. Of course, those fans wearing Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 jersey also yelled out his name.All because Bryant went up to the scorer’s table to check in midway through the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ 110-102 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday at Smoothie King Center. He described his right shoulder as “stiff and completely locked.” Yet, Bryant revealed that fan sentiment influenced him to check into the game, mindful he will rest today before Sunday’s game in Houston.“I always try to be emotionally detached, but we have three games left. What am I saving it for?” said Bryant, who only had 14 points on 4-of-15 shooting in 22 minutes. “It won’t hurt to go up there and play two minutes.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The sellout crowd cheered for Bryant numerous times. Bryant nearly kept pace with the Pelicans’ scoring by posting 10 of his 14 first-quarter points in the first seven minutes. The Pelicans also played a tribute video that featured Anthony Davis, Kendrick Perkins and Ryan Anderson gushing about Bryant. They also forgave Bryant when he missed an open layup or when he missed a 26-foot 3-pointer shortly after checking in with 7:20 left in the fourth quarter. Bryant then received an ovation when he left the game for good with 4:15 remaining. Aside from offensively prolific nights from D’Angelo Russell (32 points) and Jordan Clarkson (26 points), there marked little else to cheer about in an otherwise sluggish game.Nondescript opponents racked up their fantasy league rankings against the Lakers (16-63), including Alexis Ajinca (28 points), Toney Douglas (20), Dante Cunningham (19), Luke Babbitt (15) and Jordan Hamilton (12). center_img “If you want to be a winner in this league, you have to fight adversity,” Scott said. “If you can do that on a consistent basis, it’ll pay off in the end.”Scott sounded in a better mood on Friday morning when he reflected on boarding the team flight to New Orleans on Thursday. Then, Scott and Bryant smiled before realizing this marked Bryant’s final trip that also includes a stop in Oklahoma City (Monday). Scott reflected on Bryant’s 20-year NBA career that he described as a “long, beautiful journey.” Scott then shared in a half-joking manner his plans for Bryant in his season-finale against Utah at Staples Center April 13.“I really just want to play him 48 minutes,” Scott said before imagining his conversation with Bryant. “‘KB, I’ll keep you out there until you tell me you want to rest. When you tell me to take you out for a few minutes, I’ll take you out.”Although he anticipated “a lot of energy in the building” for his last game, Bryant insisted he has refused to become emotional about the finality. Yet, Bryant showed some emotions with his loud chuckle when relayed about Scott’s plans. “I have that relationship now,” Bryant said of Scott. “We both know I can play a certain amount of minutes and then sit down and come back and try to play. I give it all I have.”But for 48 minutes?!“No, unless you’re playing on 2K or something,” Bryant said, referring to the popular video game. “That’s about it.” As the fans did on Friday, perhaps they will plead for Bryant to carry such a workload. Perhaps Bryant will listen again.last_img

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