Big Minutes For Bryant … Again

With the Lakers up 24 points on the Pistons with 8:55 remaining Sunday night in Los Angeles, ordinarily a cushy margin against an overmatched opponent, coach Mike Brown sent Kobe Bryant back in. The same ailing Kobe Bryant who said after the previous game, Friday against the Clippers, that it felt like his foot was falling off. The same 34-year-old Kobe Bryant who opened the season by logging 35, 38 and 43 minutes.

The Pistons had cut the deficit from 36 points, and Brown was taking no chances even though L.A. probably could have just fallen forward and crossed the finish line first. Bryant went in for Devin Ebanks. Dwight Howard went in for Robert Sacre. Steve Blake, starting for the injured Steve Nash, went in for Darius Morris. This was the 0-3 start talking. This was a championship contender — yes, still — forced into responding to a lottery team when Brown might have held off on at least Bryant returning to the game if the Lakers had been off to a slow start instead of their Prepare For Nuclear Winter start.

If Brown was living in the moment, though, he was also living in the past. The issue at hand is much more than just about Sunday night and getting a lot of people to breath into paper bags. It was the same thing in 2011-12. A season after Bryant could barely practice, Brown, as new Lakers coach, played Kobe 38.5 minutes a game, more than anyone in the league except 26-year-old Luol Deng, 23-year-old Kevin Love and 23-year-old Kevin Durant. Brown would come to say the workload should have been reduced.

Nothing has changed early in 2012-13. The offense is doubled over, Bryant is going good at 26.8 points and 59.7 percent from the field, Nash has missed the last two games and most of another with a leg injury, and so Brown keeps turning to Bryant. It’s understandable as the Lakers search for help turns up few takers. It’s just asking for trouble.

Bryant didn’t just play 32 minutes, which ordinarily isn’t a lot, in Sunday’s 108-79 victory. He went 32 minutes two days after limping through the locker room with a strained right foot and telling a group of reporters how much he was hurting, a rare admission on his part. To have to be rushed back into action in the fourth quarter against the Pistons was surely the last thing he wanted, but an 0-3 start and Detroit making a charge does strange things.

As Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register tweeted later:

Nash’s arrival as an expert distributor and another shooter for the backcourt was supposed to reduce the dependency. Yet Bryant is at 37 minutes a game and taking on a greater burden as the offense labors at full strength. Plus there’s the added hit of Nash’s leg injury. He will miss at least two games under the original calendar for recovery from the fractured tibia. Nash said he was hopeful the timetable will hold, but could offer little in the way of certainty.

Adding to the problem, the Lakers don’t have much of a bench in the best of times, especially in the backcourt. Blake has moved into the starting role and Brown is using only Morris behind Blake and some Ebanks, also a small forward, behind Bryant. Jodie Meeks isn’t playing. Chris Duhon isn’t playing. That’s it at guard.

The depth issue won’t go away until the second unit proves capable. The Nash issue will go away when he returns and is playing at his usual high level. The Bryant minutes issue? That may never go away.


  1. trish1999 says:

    big minutes for kobe, we need him in the playoffs and for big stage – the championship..just limit his minutes..lakers have a deep bench,,

  2. wilpaljr says:

    yeah, i agree with the observation that Mike Brown does not fit as a coach for the NBA. he should be fired. it would be fitting for him to coach hockey instead.

  3. jerikobe says:

    brown is clown.. take him down!!!

  4. jeffrey says:

    yah truly Lakers is a Playoff team and a championship contenter.. the players. but NOT the COACH???

  5. jeffrey says:

    the one who need to cut off from the team is Mike Brown. dont know really what is he doin about the team. he have the best guard and forward. one man team again? but you have pau gasol, Dwight howard, metta world peace, nash, how can this player make a chemistry if kobe only handle the ball and call the play.

  6. CJnyk says:

    When will Mike Brown realize that Kobe is already 34 years old? Yes, Nash is out for a couple of days. But he should still use his bench more often and not totally rely on his starters. I just really think that the Lakers is having a problem on the chemistry not just between players and even between the staff.
    Give’em 30 more games, and probably they will prove to you guys that they are the championship team everyone is talking about. Jamison is still not on his real game – he does not have the confidence he had with the Cavs – and he needs to get that confidence back. And for the bench, they need to prove that they could be efficient, Meeks and Ebanks should work harder on the court just like what Blake and JHill is doing. Mike Brown has a HUGE problem and the pressure is very high on him. He needs this team to go and beat the OKC on the West Finals.

  7. BOWCHIKA says:

    mike brown has something, he has plan’s … just have faith laker fans..

  8. maryanne24 says:

    Fire mike brown…

  9. firehawk17 says:

    this formula here spells disaster in the long run for the lakers… brace yourselves laker fans

  10. Omar says:

    This is Phil Jackson zen master mind games on Kobe’s part…anyone who thinks he’s actually hurt, doesn’t know he’s been in hollywood for 17 years.

    • Mytownl;a says:

      Soooooo….. Kobe is faking his injury? Kobes not really hurtin? The best thing for you to do is stfu before you make yourself sound even dumber than you already are. Kobe hasnt been unanamously nominated as the toughest player in the league more than once for no reason moron. smh your an idiot, and thats an understatement

  11. sinQ says:

    How ’bout the 2-time MVP coming off the bench? Nash needs the ball to be effective. Kobe needs the ball to be effective. In order to maximize both players’ effectiveness, you got to alternate their rotation to which you keep both superstars in positions where they both have the ball in their hand as much as possible. Bench for LAL can hardly provide that spark; how about the 2-time MVP doing that instead? Nash can’t keep up defensively with most the starting opposing PG’s (not to say Blake can) but Nash is in a better position of guarding the 2nd unit PG’s. While Kobe is resting, we as Laker fans can hope to see Nash regulate an effective Pick N’ Roll offense that will get bigs like Hill, Sacre, or D12 (or Pau depending on who Coach Brown decides to rest first) flourishing through easy buckets. All while, Coach Brown saving the Princeton offense for the first unit (makes sense since Blake isn’t an effective facilitator) and letting Nash command the Pick N’ Roll for the 2nd unit. Main thing here is money ball, find that rotation where it will maximize each players’ effectiveness.

  12. Kels XIII says:

    BROWN NEEDS TO STOP THE PRINCETON OFFENSE. ok come on, ever since they used the princeton offense, how many times or how long is the ball in Nash’s hand? less than when he was in Dallas or Phoenix. Steve Nash is one of those guards who play pick n pop or pick and roll efficiently like John Stockton and Karl Malone or Magic with Jabbar and perhaps one of the top. Here comes the question, how many times has Mike Brown runs pick and roll between Nash and Dwight? NONE. WHY? I got no idea either. Dwight and Nash perhaps one of the most deadliest pick and roll ever just like when he was with Stoudemire or any other forward that can post up well. Come on Brown, stop listening to Eddie Jordan, you need to stop the failing princeton offense and start some pick and roll for Nash.

  13. purpngold says:

    Mike Brown right now is only worried abovut saving his own skin. Kobe seems to have taken a liking to Brown, why? Who knows, but I agree that he wont last too long as the headcoach. If Kobe gets injured, Brown is done. He’ll have no one to turn to bail him out in the 4th and no one to back him up. That’s when the Laker’s headaches will really begin. You c an forget about a deep run in the playoffs, hoping at least that they make it into the playoffs. Scott is right about one thing, I dont see Kobes minutes going down, Brown will ride Kobe till the wheels fall off. Thats his coaching strategy. Not very bright. The same thing he did in Cleveland, rode James all the way through the season, lucky for James he was young, but Kobe, thats another story. This guy Brown, he’s goint to be the end for Kobe. Then what?

  14. dennicious says:

    coach brown i think doesnt really know what to do..pushing the black mamba too hard..not a good phil jackson or jerry sloan..the answer.

  15. mervsj_xtr says:

    I’m questioning LAKERS management why they let go of Brian Shaw I’ll bet my money he is the best coach for the LAKERS, Head Coach Mike Brown is a Chicken he should be out he never fix the issue like he did with Cleveland Cavilers I hope soon I like to see him out of the LAKERS Bench.

  16. Dwight's Impact says:

    Dwight’s looking good despite not being 100%. He scored the most points in the Detroit game and is consistently scoring high while putting up good rebounds and block numbers. He should be the engine to lead the lakers. Let Kobe take the backseat.

  17. Scott says:

    From the look of that suit jacket Kobe will be spending extended minutes as usher, or parking lot attendant.

  18. Edwin says:

    you want some bench points, put in Jodie Meeks…he can shoot the top off the building.

  19. Karlo Garcia says:

    LOL. I like your comment Weirdness about Jodie Meeks that he should start. Just b/c he started in Phlly does not mean he in the starting 5 in LAL. Has 2 prove himself. Hey how bout Ray Allen in Miami he’s not starting & he has 2 prove himself 2.

  20. Ted says:

    Easy. Get Rid of Mike Brown

  21. jim says:

    clearly, mike brown is over rated as a head coach. Lebron James gave mike brown a name. Cleveland didn’t win because of Brown, they won, mainly, because of lebron. Kobe still cant share, he is a hog as he always has been. lakers wont go as far as they did last year. Nash toooooooo old, kobe gettin there, that’s two starters that should not be playing big minutes. Lakers are in trouble.

  22. R says:

    Kobe’s toughness is legendary. If Mike Brown pushes Kobe to hard he could get seriously injured and put a dent in the Laker’s playoff plans. i’d hate to see that.

  23. randy chan says:

    what about bringing metta off the bench and let antwan jamison start?

    • BOWCHIKA says:

      maybe, but i think they should bring back Lamar Odom, Farmar, Shannon, and Sasha for better bench players and role players.. and they need energy… and sasha and shannon are the best fit. the dunking ability of shannon and the 3’s of sasha.. just like before, 2008,2010…. and trevor ariza ……

  24. DANITo says:

    lakers should make a trade for a decent sg, to give kobe a break. on papers this team was looking i see how all the players are getting old or injured. nash and kobe would been good a couple years ago. but i dont see a championship with this team. i dont know but this team have lack of energy, chemistry and guys that do the dirty work.

  25. W/E says:

    Last night the Laker starters where playing great, coach Brown is lost he really seems like he doesnt know what to do with the rotation just trying things and whatever goes,i still cant believe how bad the lakers bench is on both ends,u gotta keep 2 starters at least with em all the time cause their so awfull..

  26. Rainman says:

    “… telling a group of reporters how much he was hurting, a rare admission on his part” Umm.. Kobe has NEVER been shy about telling ppl how much he’s hurting and how much he plays through pain. He’s almost single handedly created his own reputation for being a warriror that plays thru injuries by such comments himself…

  27. steppx says:

    Another good piece. Kobe cant play these minutes. Period. This is his 17th season, and he played all summer. Brown is clueless, but the real problem was never even considering the bench. First off, why isnt meeks playing? Second……..why didnt Kupchak think to sign some decent back up? I mean this is an old team. Except for howard, all the starters are past their sell by date. The lakers had two draft picks and gave them away for Sessions, now gone, and Jordan Hill……..a almost tolerable back up…..who actually played half way decent last season. But those two picks could have brought some youth to this team. A Jeff Taylor or Terrence Jones, or Perry Jones………or even a miles plumlee……….something, anything, but YOUNG….athletic…….but the lakers are used to just buying talent. This time they forget the bench.

    • Mytownl;a says:

      Stepxx STFU!!! your basketball i.q is well below a negative you need serious attention… R u off of your meds or some ish. Jordan Hill is an almost tolerable back up? There are soooooo many things that are wrong with your ignorant comment its rediculous. Do the world a favor and go murk yourself so we can all celebrate

  28. Ivan says:

    Mike Brown should be coaching a lottery team. No offense, but he shouldn’t be coaching a top 5 team in the NBA like the lakers. he makes stupid substitutions, has relationship issues with his players, is not a good offensive coach, and he overworks/overplays his star players. Lebron was playing over 40 mins back in Cleveland. Unacceptable.

  29. kevin nicholls INDIANAPOLIS says:

    Kobe will be fine the minutes don’t matter it’s the energy he’s got to use in those minutes that matter, when Howard and Nash start really playing well Kobe will do less and be more effective and that when the lakers will win and go deep in the playoffs.

  30. Weirdness says:

    I don’t get why Jodie Meeks isn’t playing at all. He started for Philadelphia for several years and did a solid job. Now he isn’t even getting minutes on the Laker bench, seems like he’d be a decent back up shooting guard to me. Mike Brown’s rotation and offensive style are strange.

  31. Dan says:

    mike brown is the worst coach ive ever seen

    • BOWCHIKA says:

      they need time man,, with new guys around… and i dont think mike brown can’t handle the team… he can, for sure he has plan’s.. everything happens for a reason..

  32. TTKIN says:

    Mike Brown sent the starters back in cuz it is a regularity for the Lakers to have a huge lead and then have to rush in the final moments to get the win. It was just last season when they did that several times (imagine how many wins they woulda had if they stopped coughing the lead up). Bryant has to be the engine to push them through right now. But once everyone is used to playing with each other, his minutes will decline. No need to worry right now.

  33. joe says:

    everybody should wait until at least the 10th game before they start freaking out about the lakers.

  34. ImJusSayin says:

    Wait a minute, remember Brown in Cleveland? He tried some scheme regardless of his personnel than used Lebron to save the day. Wound up with the best record twice i believe but a team with no gas for the Playoffs. Did something change or is only reasonable to expect more of the same? Kobe could say what he wants but Brown is a poor excuse for a coach that has no business trying to run this caliber of team.

  35. Alessio Laker says:

    Fire Mike Brown for god’s shake.

    Get Jerry Sloan.

  36. jCOBB82 says:

    jodie meeks should try to play “with” kobe in the game so jodie can get more open looks and get a better feel for the game, same with antwane jamison… Once they get their feet wet the the game will come alot easier

    • White Mamba says:

      The problem with Jodie Meeks is that he can’t play defense. Jodie Meeks with Kobe Bryant is a dumb suggestion… Who would you take the Point position? Its either Nash, Blake or Morris/Duhon since its only them who knows how to set the system. You cannot let Kobe take the point position besides it would tire him easily and diminish his scoring ability. The only problem with the 2nd unit is they have no DEFENSE. And as of now, the best back-up for Kobe is Ebanks based from the last game… and he can defend too!

  37. Cha says:

    Brown might be wanting the win more than everyone, but that decision would make the bench feel untrusted and would just harm things in the long run.

  38. aussiephil says:

    mike brown will be gone before the end of the year he obviously doesn’t realise the season is a marathon have to have your stars primed for the playoffs not the start thee is enough talent to make the playoffs without kobe playing huge minutes

  39. Lakers#1 says:

    Mike Brown is a good defensive coach, but he certainly have some flaws too! Just watch how Phil Jackson and Greg Popovich use their star players. They limit the playing time even when the team is facing adversity just to have the stars fresh for playoffs. Mike Brown always takes the easy way out putting Kobe on the floor when things get ugly. The second unit never gets any kind of consistency or any opportunity to handle pressure.

    What is up with the second unit? One game Meeks gets 15 minutes and the next zero minutes! Also, Whats up with Jamison? He is a ghost on the floor! It’s not that he misses alot because he does not even shoot the ball. Jamison was supposed to be the sixth man, the scorer for the second unit, averaging about 10 points a game. Now Jamison is averaging about 2-4 points a game.

    Mike Brown needs to exchange World Peace for Jamison so that Jamison can start the scoring engine in the first unit. When that is done he can go back to the second unit.

    Right now only Blake and Hill delivers for the second unit and that is a major problem!

  40. LakersWillWin says:

    I know we are only a few games into the season, and the minutes will start to ware on Kobe. He is playing absolutely phenomonally at the moment. If players were to connect on a few more shots they missed, he could have had a triple double last night. Like I said, if Kobe keep averaging minutes like this you WILL see his fg% dropping. It’s hard to believe is still playing at a high level like this after all these years.

  41. ultrarunner80 says:

    Mike Brown needs to fix the rotation. This isn’t Hockey – you don’t need to do a line change. He needs to keep at least two starters on the court at all times. I would even consider bringing Pau off the bench in a 6th man role, ala James Harden last year. That way you keep at least one scorer on the court at all times.

    I’m sorry, but a lineup of Blake, Morris, Ebanks, Jamison, Sacre is going to lose it for you every time.

    • ko0kiE says:

      that’s an interesting thought.. but I would want to have bryant and pau together on the floor as much as possible.. they obviously the best chemistry between each other.

      • just as i would have nash and howard alone with kobe and pau resting because they fit more with each other and nash can handle the ball and throw it in to him

  42. Carl says:

    Why isn’t Mike Brown playing Chris Duhon or Jodie Meeks, who could be sparks off the bench? I don’t understand his reasoning.

    • White Mamba says:

      Because both can’t play defense… Where were you when the lakers played the preseason and the last 2 games of the season???

  43. frans says:

    Brown will diminsh Kobes minutes for sure. But right now he is needed to make both offense and defense work. Is it wise to fatigue your most valuable player? Don’t know, but the alternative is not pretty.
    By the way; I’ll bet you that Brown won’t finish the season. I think he is not compatible with Dwight and D12 will win this fight.

  44. angel says:

    Get rid of mike brown

  45. Arun says:

    Kobe Bryant shouldn’t be playing so many minutes unless it is playoffs.. Wish Antawn Jamison was more efficeint off the bench and be a scorer.