There have been rumblings about the Lakers possibly trading Pau Gasol after his comments to the Los Angeles Times earlier this week, but Pau teamed with Kobe Bryant to lead the Lakers to an 88-85 victory in Charlotte on Saturday night. Pau even withstood Bryant’s on-court screaming after a defensive lapse, and Mamba’s tongue-in-cheek comments after the game.
Bryant was 2-for-5 in the fourth-quarter for six points, two rebounds and an assist and Gasol had two points and two blocks in the same period as the Lakers outscored the Bobcats 25-17 down the stretch for the victory — their first since Bryant returned.
Kobe finished with 21 points overall (8/16 shooting) — the most since his return from the Achilles’ tendon tear — to go with eight assists and seven rebounds. He looked a lot more comfortable than he did in his first game back, driving to the bucket and getting a layup with his off-hand to bring the Lakers to within one point inside of two minutes remaining.
He also knocked down a pretty turnaround earlier in that final session.
Prior to the Lakers’ fourth-quarter comeback — sealed by four big free throws from Kobe and Pau inside of 40 seconds — Bryant found Gasol diving to the rim off the pick-and-roll.
Despite the connection with Pau and his big free throws at the end, Bryant didn’t hold back after Kemba Walker got to the rim for an easy score in transition, screaming at Pau after the play (as noted by reddit’s r/NBA):
After the game, Kobe even blamed Pau for his seven turnovers (Pau had six, too), telling Lakers sideline reporter Mike Trudell, “I’m gonna light into [Gasol] a little because he’s killing me; [he's] getting me turnovers because he can’t catch the damn ball. So I’m gonna get into his Spaniard behind when I get into the locker-room.”
It seems, from the video below, that Bryant is joking, since he has a smile on his face, but as Trudell noted on Twitter after the interview, it was hard to tell if he was being sarcastic or not:
Kobe (somewhat?) facetiously told me he was going to yell at Gasol in the locker room for getting him extra turnovers.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 15, 2013
After Kobe’s return to form — so to speak — we thought it might have something do with playing in front of ol’ No. 23, Michael Jordan — the majority owner of the Bobcats. But Bryant assured reporters after the game, he’s grown beyond trying to impress His Airness.
Do you think Kobe was joking about Pau?
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