Kobe. Bryant is playing through a broken finger, and needed intraveneous fluids both before and during his game against Utah on Saturday. In that game, a 102-94 loss that snapped Los Angeles' 11-game win streak, Bryant suffered through a 7-24 shooting night [pretty close to Brandon Roy's 8-24 night against Milwaukee. When Roy hit that shot to tie the game in regulation on Saturday, it reminded me of the type of shot that only Bryant makes with any consistency]. Of course, Kobe has done just fine while ailing against the Bucks in the past.
And he did just fine last night against the Bulls. Dropped 20 in the first quarter on the way to a season-high 42 point night in a 96-87 win in City of Wind.
Kobe is shooting more and more effectively from 10-15 feet (4.2 attempts/game, 50.0 %) than in the past, while toning down the 16-23 foot (5.8 attempts/game, 42.0 %) jumpers. Given that, it's not surprising that Kobe is shooting a career-high 48.1 % from the field.
Luc Mbah a Moute, step to it.
Center B's. Bogut has played two of his best games of the year in the last week or so, against Boston and Portland. Just killer performances.
Not a huge overall head-to-head difference between the two starting centers, but Andrew Bynum knocked him around a bit in the last matchup in Milwaukee (25 pts, 17 rebs, on 10-13 from the field) and Bogut will have a lot of additional defensive duties with Bryant and co. slashing to the hoop.
Since returning from injury, Bogut's averaged 2.3 blocks per game.
Late in the clock. An interesting stat split: the Lakers shoot 46.8 % late in the shot clock (21+) and allow opponents to shoot just 32.0 % in the same, late-clock timeframe. Pretty substantial.
The Bucks? Shooting 39.0 % and allowing 43.7 %. Pretty sub-standard.
These shots typically comprise only about 10-15 % of overall shots, but they can swing things. I'll keep an eye on, you do the same.