Kobe Bryant runs better than he shoots as Lakers beat Sacramento, 98-95


Reporting from Las Vegas — Almost 19 minutes more of playing time, and Kobe Bryant still can’t find his shot.

Bryant took 10 shots Wednesday night in an exhibition game against the Sacramento Kings and made just two, finishing with seven points.

He now is four for 28 from the field in three games.

Bryant still is trying to get his legs back after having right knee surgery during the off-season.


“He looked better to us,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said after his team defeated the Kings, 98-95, at Thomas & Mack Center. “He was two for 10 and he didn’t shoot the ball well, but he ran like he was more fluid in his running and it looks more like he’s starting to have a little bounce in his step. So I was pleased even though he didn’t shoot the ball well.”

Bryant missed his first five shots, one of which was blocked.

He didn’t appear to be getting much lift on his jumpers.

He even looked tired on occasion, which was evident when he huffed a few times, trying to catch his breath when the Lakers called a timeout with 5:51 left in the first quarter.

Bryant made his first shot with 3:21 left in the first quarter, a 19-foot jumper from the corner.

But Bryant missed his next shot, a wide-open jumper in front of the Lakers’ bench.

Bryant came out of the game with 2:47 left in the first quarter, going one for seven, finishing the first half with two points.

Bryant left the game for good with 2:24 left in the third quarter.

The best offensive player for the Lakers was Ron Artest, who had 18 points on seven-for-11 shooting and was four for five on three-pointers.

Pau Gasol had a good game, getting a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Jackson, however, didn’t think so.

“He’s still on vacation,” Jackson said. “His stats were better than I thought when I came and looked at the stat sheet. But I thought he missed some real easy shots. … He can’t seem to make two [free throws] in a row right now.”

Lamar Odom got a technical foul for raising his arms after he was called for a foul.

Jackson was called for a technical foul with 10:14 left in the game after arguing a delay-of-game call.

“They are calling some strange things out there,” Jackson said.

That’s all a part of the NBA’s new rules for calling the games closer.

“That was one of the weirdest technicals I’ve ever gotten,” Odom said.

His team didn’t not play well in its first two exhibition games in Europe, losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves in London and FC Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain.

So what was Jackson looking for the most when his team played the Kings?

“I want to see a jump ball. I want to see a final buzzer,” Jackson deadpanned before the game.

So, was Jackson anxious to get the game over? “Sure, let’s get this preseason game done,” Jackson said.

Jackson said he was looking forward to next week when the Lakers play four exhibition games. That would be a challenge, because the Lakers actually will play five games in the seven days.