Posted by Neil Paine on January 31, 2011
Just a brief rant about the media reaction to yesterday's Celtics win over LA...
After the game, especially on the SportsCenter coverage last night, I saw "Too Much Kobe" being held up as an explanation for the Lakers' struggles. Here's a sample:
"Bryant took 29 of the Lakers' 66 field goal attempts (43.9 percent) while he was on the floor. This was the 10th game this season that Bryant took more than 40 percent of the Lakers' shots while on the court. In those 10 games, the Lakers are 3-7. Los Angeles is much better when Bryant shoots a smaller percent of the team's shots while on the court. The Lakers are 23-5 when Bryant takes less than 35 percent of the team's shots when on the floor."
That's a familiar media theme when Kobe scores a ton of points but his team loses; we saw it a lot in 2006, for instance.
As far as I can tell, "Too Much Kobe" is exclusively an offensive criticism. Trouble is, L.A.'s offense was fine yesterday. Against the 3rd-best defense in the league, against whom an average team would expect to score about 104 pts/100 poss. at home, the Lakers scored 110.1. The offense is not why L.A. lost, and therefore "Too Much Kobe" can't be why they lost.
They lost because they allowed the 11th-best offense in the NBA to score a staggering 125.0 points per 100 possessions against them on the road. This may or may not be Kobe's fault -- aside from personal fouls, he wasn't overly active on D, and despite his scoring feats the Lakers were -9 when he was on the court.
But it can't possibly be because Kobe had zero assists.