Kobe Bryant is, as they say, on fire.
For three straight games, Kobe Bryant has launched 31 shots towards the rim. For three straight games, enough of those 31 shots have fallen to give him at least 40 points. He has scored a total of 120 points, going 47-93 from the field, 5-13 from 3, and 31-34 from the line. The Lakers have won all three of those games.
The Lakers are riding Kobe to a 9-4 record, good for second best in the West. Kobe Bryant is definitely on a mission.
But what’s the mission, exactly? And is this the way the mission should be executed?
Is Kobe Bryant firing away in defiance of his age, his injuries and his critics? Is Kobe determined to not just win another title to catch Michael Jordan, but to do it in a fashion that still make him “Kobe”?
And since I’m asking so many questions… is this a good thing for the Lakers?
Time stands still for no man, no matter how hard Kobe clenches his jaw and stares it down. At some point, the 40 minutes a game will catch up to the 33 year-old, 15 year veteran, especially as this unrelenting schedule piles game upon game. No amount of experimental German treatments will prevent his body from eventually saying enough is enough.
I respect Kobe’s tenacity. I’m amazed at what he’s been able to do, and for how long he’s been able to do it. But the grind of this particular NBA season is going to be too much for anyone to bear. And the standing and watching won’t help the Lakers in the long run.
Kobe’s doing what he’s doing now out of necessity, bailing out a struggling Lakers team as it adjusts to Mike Brown and the post-Odom, post-failed-Chris Paul trade world. He’s also doing it out of arrogance, thumbing his nose at the people who write what I just wrote a couple of paragraphs ago. It’s an arrogance that is necessary for a superstar of his caliber.
But at some point, everything has to fall in line for the Lakers, or they risk a disappointing finish, and a failed mission for Kobe Bryant.