Lakers Coach Byron Scott said he didn't get caught up in Kobe Bryant's vintage performance Tuesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
After all, the Lakers were trying to avoid setting a franchise record for consecutive losses and had already blown an 11-point fourth-quarter lead before salvaging the game in the closing minutes. But at practice Wednesday, Scott said he's come to appreciate Bryant's season-high 38-point effort in a 119-115 victory, the Lakers' first win in 11 games.
"We'll look back on Feb. 2 and say hey, that was a pretty special day for KB," Scott said. "He was in a zone last night that we haven't seen him in in a long time."
Bryant hit seven three-pointers against Minnesota— the 12th time in his career that he connected on at least that many shots from beyond the arc. The last time Bryant was that hot from the perimeter was nearly eight years ago, in his 53-point game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Scott wasn't the only one marveling at Bryant.
"Those are shots you take in a video game," Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson said. "He's making them. It was like watching a movie."
On the road
The Lakers start a five-game trip with a game Thursday at New Orleans.
After the All-Star break, the Lakers have a home game against San Antonio on Feb. 19, then go back on the road for three games in the Midwest.
"Our guys are kind of used to being on the road now," Scott said. "I think it takes a little bit of the distraction away [from] when we're at home. We can kind of focus even more so when we're on the road, because we have nobody to turn to but ourselves."
Scott was complimentary of D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle after each played well against the Timberwolves. Russell had 18 points off the bench and Randle had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Randle has been playing well recently, averaging 13.4 points and 11.4 rebounds over his last eight games.
"I think his progression has come along nicely," Scott said. "We had a good little talk yesterday about some of the things I want him to continue to get better at. He takes those things to heart, and he's trying to put them into play."
Clarkson grew up modeling his game after some of the all-time greats, citing Bryant and Allen Iverson. But he also took a special interest in another current Laker: guard Lou Williams.
"It's crazy, him being my teammate, I always tell him that he was one of my favorite players growing up too," Clarkson said. "He's just solid … he can do a little bit of everything."
Tarik Black has a sore left foot but is listed as probable for Thursday's game, the team said. Black played 20 minutes against Minnesota, his second-longest stint this season.
LAKERS AT NEW ORLEANS
When: 6:30 p.m. PST.
Where: Smoothie King Center.
On the air: TV: TNT, TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.
Records: Lakers 10-41; Pelicans 18-29 through Wednesday.
Record vs. Pelicans: 1-0.
Update: The Lakers have the second-worst road record (4-23) in the league, only slightly better than the similarly lottery ball-bound Philadelphia 76ers (3-23). Meanwhile, this has been a season of disappointment and injuries for the Pelicans, but they have managed to squeak out a winning record (13-11) at home.