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Kobe Bryant's latest opponent: Fatigue in his legs

With shots often falling short late in games, Kobe Bryant tries changing his routine to keep his legs fresh

Kobe Bryant’s shot keeps falling short, especially in the second half of recent games. He’s well aware of it.

He’s trying to change his routine, adding days where his main activity is to take ice baths. On other non-game days, he plans to add extra weightlifting for his lower body.

It’s a difficult equilibrium to find, Bryant acknowledged. You don’t want to wear out 36-year-old legs with too much off-court work. But they might need more muscle, a main reason he spoke with Lakers strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco about changing up his off-day regimen.

Bryant was four for 14 after the third quarter in Sunday’s overtime loss to Denver. He was three for 10 in the second half of a blowout loss last Friday in Dallas.

“The second half of games for me have been a struggle lately with my legs,” Bryant said. “My shot’s just been really short even though my legs feel good.”

At the same time, he said there was a need to be “working on my legs a little bit, getting them stronger.

“It’s a fine balance at 36, trying to find the rhythm of strengthening your legs as the season goes on without wearing them out. We’re in uncharted territory in terms of trying to figure this out, but we will.”

The Lakers are hopeful Bryant finds the balance, to say the least.

He leads the league in scoring (26.7 points a game) but is shooting only 38.1% from the field, more than 7 percentage points below his career average, while playing almost 36 minutes a game.

“We can see also watching the tape that everything was just a tad short, which tells me that the legs were a little fatigued,” Coach Byron Scott said.

Scott said he might cut Bryant's playing time a bit to conserve his energy.

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