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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant looks more efficient in 102-93 loss to Raptors

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I don’t get it,” Bryant said, laughing. “You would think with the rest, I’d be better on the first night. But clearly that’s not the case. So I have no idea.”That prompted Bryant to joke, “maybe I’ll start hopping on the treadmill the night before games and run it like crazy.”Or why can’t Bryant dial back his shooting?“He’s Kobe. He probably has more confidence than anybody in this league that he can still get it going,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “Tonight was one of those nights where he played under control, got to some great looks, took some great shots, got to the basket and also set up his teammates. He can always affect the games other ways. Will it be less is more? I don’t know yet.” Highlight reelBryant once gave the Raptors fits when he posted a career-high 81 points on Jan. 22, 2006. But Toronto did not feature any of Bryant’s highlights of that game for its video tribute commemorating Bryant’s career, something a league source said was determined by the Raptors front office. Was Bryant surprised?“Clearly you were from the question,” Bryant said, chuckling. “If you’re looking for me to co-sign your story, fine I will.” Bryant said “that game holds a tremendous amount of value,” though the reasons go beyond his own performance. “It was my grandfather’s birthday, who had passed away recently,” Bryant said. “My grandmother doesn’t like coming to the games because it makes her nervous. She came down to the game and watched me play.” “You have to take what the defense gives you,” Bryant said. “When you come up and catch and the defense is off, you have to take the shot.”Bryant has faced fewer double-teams this season partly because of his age (37) and shooting issues. And yet …“It’s really important for kids to understand you cannot hold on to the last play,” Bryant said. “It will affect you. You have to let it go and play what’s right in front of you. Some days are better than others.”Surprisingly, Bryant’s best days on the Lakers’ trip has coincided on the second night of a back-to-back. He posted a season-high 31 points on 10-of-24 shooting in last week’s win in Washington. Despite committing four turnovers, Bryant played more efficiently against Toronto after nursing a stomach bug in recent days.center_img TORONTO >> As he walked off the floor, Kobe Bryant received a rousing ovation. For once, the pleasantries went beyond a farewell for his last appearance in a respective city.This time, Bryant received applause for a good game. In the Lakers’ 102-93 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday at Air Canada Centre, Bryant posted 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting, eight rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes. That marked the first time all season that Bryant shot 50 percent.“Aww really!?” Bryant said with some playful sarcasm. “Fifty percent! Finally!”Bryant then turned serious on why he has averaged a team-leading 17.9 shots per game, while shooting 29.6 percent from the field and 21.8 percent from 3-point range. last_img read more