The great ones seem to be unaffected on the court by illness. Michael Jordan famously lifted the Chicago Bulls to victory in the 1997 NBA Finals despite battling the flu and having to be held up after the game. Kobe Bryant, who was a game-time decision last night, may not go down in history for his performance last night, was still impressive.
Bryant was dealing with flu symptoms but managed to play - and play well. He scored 40 points and pulled down ten rebounds, but the Los Angeles Lakers lost. The Indiana Pacers' George Hill hit the game-winning shot to give the Pacers a 79-77 victory. That's right, the Lakers had 77 point. This means that while battling a sickness that keeps most people in bed for a week, Bryant was able to score 52% of the Lakers' points single-handledly.
Unfortunately, Bryant's teammates were not much help, and the team fell to 7-8 on the season. Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles writes that the rest of the Lakers' team lacks the mental toughens that Bryant has shown for years. And he's right. This year's team does not have the drive and dedication that Bryant has shown his whole career. And it could hold them back from a postseason berth.
Bryant has been every bit as good as he's always been this season. He is averaging 27.7 points per game and 4.9 assists per game. He is the only thing really keeping the Lakers alive right now.
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