The Lakers have locked up the third seed in the Western Conference and conventional wisdom says that Kobe should be rested for the playoffs. But I get the feeling that Kobe wants this scoring title. And whatever Kobe wants, Kobe usually gets.
And that leaves Coach Mike Brown in a difficult situation. If he keeps Kobe on the bench he runs the risk of upsetting Kobe and if he plays him and Kobe gets hurt he’s going to be vilified by the fans and talking heads alike.
I think this scoring title does mean a lot to Kobe. He’s 33, been in the league for 16 years and it seems like he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder this season. He wants to prove to all the critics and haters out there that he is still The Man. He wants to show that he is just as good, if not better, than the new crop of NBA superstars.
Winning championships is still the most important thing but getting another scoring title at this point in his career would be a nice little extra. Kobe will only play for a few more years (maybe two or three) and there has to be a sense of urgency in Kobe’s mind. He may only have one or two more legitimate shots at winning another championship.
For a game that should mean nothing there is a lot of drama surrounding it. For one more night all eyes are going to be on Kobe Bryant. And I’m sure he wouldn’t want it any other way.