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Kobe Bryant has lowered his scoring average to 19.8 points per game over the last 10 contests, but he’s also upped his rebounding to 7.1 rebounds per game and is dishing out 7.6 assists during that stretch.
This has prompted some to call the Black Mamba “Kobe Johnson” or “Magic Bryant” – however, LeBron James isn’t buying the new role of his national squad teammate, according to Fox Sports Florida:
“Do I buy that? No,’’ James said. “He told you all before, he’s a scorer. He said it every day, ‘I’m a scorer and this is what I do.’ So I don’t buy it. No. You guys (the media) buy it, though. I see how you all go, ‘(48) assists in four games,’ whatever. You guys are going crazy about that. I don’t buy that. He’s a scorer.’’
Bryant said himself that he’ll adjust his game each night depending on how he’s being defended.
For example, all the time he’s being double and triple-teamed, he’s giving up the ball to his teammates.
This was apparent last night in Charlotte, when he dished out 5 assists in the third quarter during a comeback from being 20 points down. Kobe ended the night with 8 assists.
However, the previous game in Boston he was still moving the ball, but guys just weren’t hitting their shots. You can be the best passer in the world, but if your teammates aren’t scoring, you’re not going to be credited with an assist.
It’ll be interesting to see how Kobe plays tomorrow in Miami. As usual, he’ll take what the defense gives him.
If the Heat decide to make him a passer, guys like Metta World Peace (10% from three in February) and Jodie Meeks (5-for-18 from deep over the previous four games before he went 4-for-4 last night in Charlotte) are going to have to step up and make the defense pay.