Maybe Kobe Bryant was right. Phil Jackson might owe him an apology.
They had been ensconced in a mild debate since Bryant recently declared himself 100% recovered from off-season knee surgery, a decree Jackson answered with a roll of the eyes.
Then came Wednesday, Bryant had a huge night statistically against the Sacramento Kings, and the gavel could finally be pounded.
The debate was over.
Bryant had 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in the Lakers’ 112-100 victory over Sacramento at Arco Arena.
It was his 17th career triple-double, and it wasn’t the end of his stat line. He was nine of 10 from the free-throw line and committed only one turnover. The one minor critique would have been his accuracy — nine-for-22 shooting — but it was almost nitpicking compared to the rest of his work.
Bryant also set a franchise record two minutes into the game, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for career minutes. Bryant has now logged 37,527 minutes, all with the Lakers, of course.
Jackson said Bryant could still be moving better defensively, but he conceded he “had a terrific night.”
“His shot’s on, he’s got leg strength,” Jackson said. “I still want to see him run freely. But he played a great game.”