Kevin Durant is your NBA scoring leader in the clubhouse averaging 28.0 points per contest. On his heels and with a game in hand is Kobe Bryant at 27.9 in his nightly efforts. That leaves a 38-point gap between KB24 and another scoring title. For Bryant it would be his third such crown.
The real question is just how motivated will Mamba be come tip time in Sacramento tonight?
Now in no way am I questioning whether or not Bryant will be up for the game. Kobe gets up for preseason games so we know he’ll be good to go. However, other than Bryant’s bid for the number one spot the only real drama is whether or not this will be yet another farewell to the Lakers-Kings contests being played in Sacramento. The Lakers are locked in at the three seed, awaiting the final determination of their opponent to occur.
Another reason to question Kobe’s quest is that all year long he’s downplayed the importance of winning the scoring title and rightfully so. Individual accolades overwhelmingly mean less and less as Kobe continues to make a push for another ring.
Something else to keep in mind is that if this game means little to L.A.’s playoff positioning then it stands to reason Mike Brown will shutdown his key contributors as early as possible. Unless, of course, Kobe is within a bucket or two of catching Durant, then all bets are off.
Even thought we’re talking about the best ballers on the planet, there is every reason to believe Bryant could easily go out and get his crown. The Lakers could force feed him the rock, allowing Kobe carte blanche in his shot selection. Not that it would be a drastic departure from Coach Brown’s usual non-restrictions on Bryant but this time it would be completely intentional.
In my opinion, I don’t see Kobe caring enough to make the honest effort. For him the important thing is winning first and foremost. Beyond that it’s getting prepared for the playoffs. Kobe knows there’s only one number that matters these days. That number is six as in six rings. Anything and everything else is a very distant second. Winning scoring titles is nice for the resume but is only a footnote when you’ve got multiple championships listed at the top of the page.