It's not surprising. The Spurs are hardly Team Sentimental, opting instead for quiet, efficient dominance as one of the
Bryant, 37, was far removed from his effort on a January night in 2006, when he made 28 of 46 shots and 18 of 20 free throws against Toronto for the second-most points ever in a game.
After a lengthy runway to Friday, complete with plenty of questions about that achievement, Bryant had a very quiet time at Staples Center.
He didn't score until the 5:29 mark of the second quarter, making a nine-foot pull-up jumper after missing his first four shots. His only other basket was a three-pointer in the third quarter.
That was all.
Bryant missed seven of nine shots and did not get to the free-throw line. His six assists were his best stat in 27 minutes, and he did not play in the fourth quarter.
Bryant said he felt fine. A single digit in the scoring column is apparently what you get from him in January of his 20th season — he has scored fewer than 10 points in five of his last six games.
Lakers fans had to settle for scoreboard highlights of the 81-point night. They were sprinkled throughout Friday's game.
"I could hear it," Bryant said. "I caught some of those '81' clips."
The Lakers trailed by 25 in the fourth quarter, somewhat dimming the 13 points D'Angelo Russell scored after the third. He finished with 18.
Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams each added 16 points for the Lakers.
The losing continued, the entertainment value sapped beyond Bryant scoring a couple of baskets here and there.
"If you are a competitor and you are a guy that's used to winning, absolutely it bothers you," Lakers Coach
The Lakers, losers of five in a row, are now 9-36, almost the opposite of the Spurs (38-6), who have won 13 in a row.
Everything in the Western Conference is
Is Stephen Curry the best shooter ever? Should
Nobody is talking about the Spurs, who are stalking the Warriors in the standings, just a couple of games back in the loss column.
Why no love?
"Because they're San Antonio," Scott said. "It's nothing flashy. They come to play every single night, basically kick your butt and they go to the next town. That's how they've always been. Just a workmanlike organization.
"I think a lot of fans don't understand how good this team is. But us coaches, we know that San Antonio right now is just as good as Golden State. They're just not getting the notoriety for it."
The Lakers' main target for free agency last summer,
The Spurs are never without backup support, however, their deep roster easily coming through.
Manu Ginobili had 20 points, making nine of 10 shots,
History will join the Lakers again soon if they keep losing. Last season's 21 victories were their lowest ever, and they somehow seem like a lot these days.