For Kobe Bryant, two different halves in win over Pacers

If it were up to him, there wouldn’t be any type of ceremony, any type of way to honor a city’s favorite son, any type of way to bestow a sort of dedication that few in sports ever get.

But it’s not up to Kobe Bryant, so he just shrugged when asked his thoughts about his former high school, Lower Merion in Pennsylvania, dedicating its gym in his name Thursday night.

Bryant preferred to talk about how well the Lakers played during a 109-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night at Conseco Fieldhouse.

He even shed some light on how he approached the game, on how he was a facilitator in the first half and then that dangerous scorer in the second half, when he scored 25 of his game-high 31 points.

First, though, Bryant was asked about going back to his high school just outside of Philadelphia for Thursday’s dedication ceremony, which is to take place the day before the Lakers play the 76ers.


“I feel good about it,” Bryant said. “I’m not a big ceremony guy. I don’t like the big hoopla and all that stuff. But it’s a great honor.”

As for Wednesday’s game, Bryant seemed at ease with his play, with the way he wanted to operate.

He didn’t force anything, letting the game come to him.

Bryant was 11 for 18 from the field, four for eight from three-point range. He also had six assists.

“That’s the way we like to see Kobe play a lot of games, where he really makes his presence felt,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. “But [we like it when] everybody else is involved in the game because he’s making passes and plays and facilitating the offense.

“He’s going to find a point in a ballgame when he has his offense running for him, and he did that. He made a great effort in the second half.”

It was clear that Bryant was going to be aggressive when he drew a foul from Danny Granger while shooting a three-point shot early in the third quarter.

Bryant made all three free throws, the start of his 17-point third quarter.

He shot six for nine from the field in the third, two for three from three-point range.

“Defensively, they changed some things,” Bryant said. “They realized in the first half they really were collapsing in on me and I hit guys. In the second half, I came out and they saw me be more of a facilitator, but they gave me the shot and I took that.”

Bryant had all six of his assists in the first half, finding teammates for easy looks.

Bryant shot nine for 14 from the field in the second half, four for seven from three-point range.

Sometimes, Bryant said, things just open up.

“It depends on the game. It depends on what the strategy was,” Bryant said. “Sometimes you see me explode for a big first half and then come in the second half and be a facilitator. Certain games, it depends on who is going. You can do both.

“In our offense, it’s really tough to do both. But you’ve still got to keep the defense off beat.”