In Steve Nash’s first game back from a fibula fracture that kept him out for two months, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors 118-115 on Saturday night. Aside from the end result, the thing that stood out most from this outing was Kobe Bryant taking 41 shots. He ultimately finished with 34 points on 39 percent shooting.
As a point of reference: when he scored 81 points back in 2006, Kobe took 46 shots.
When it was all said and done on Saturday night, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard finished with nine and 11 points, respectively. They did that minimal amount of damage on a grand of 19 field goal attempts.
And this was with Nash in the line-up – distributing the ball around.
The obvious question after the fact was: did and does Bryant shoot too much? Does his incessant need to take field goals at a ridiculous clip, regardless of who he is playing with, hurt his teammates?
"I still think a lot of guys got a lot of good looks," Nash said after the Warriors game (via the Los Angeles Times). "We'll find a natural balance, but Kobe's going to take the most shots. He's our best player and a great scorer, and the ball should be in his hands or should be finding him for shots. I don't think every night he's going to take 40 shots."
At the end of the day, if the Lakers win, nobody will care how many shots anyone takes. Bryant can take 41 shots. He can take 81 shots for that matter. So long as the Lakers turn their season around – it doesn’t matter. That being said, it’s hard to envision a 34-year-old shooting guard with as much mileage on his tires as Bryant clearly has being able to play 44 minutes per night, and take 30+ shots for the rest of the year.
It doesn’t seem like a recipe for success.
Then again, it may be the only option L.A. has at this point.