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Ball Don't Lie

From the mind of the Mamba: Injured Kobe Bryant live-tweets Lakers’ Game 1 loss to Spurs

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

Kobe Bryant can't travel with his Los Angeles Lakers after undergoing surgery to repair his torn left Achilles tendon, so taking in Sunday's Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs live wasn't an option for the superstar guard. But despite being couch-bound, "Coach Vino" still had an itch to break down the game, chatting about the series-opening proceedings with his Twitter followers in a running 140-character commentary that led Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni to (somewhat curiously) call Bryant "a fan" in his postgame press conference.

Bryant started weighing in right after the opening tip, and kept chiming in throughout the matchup, kicking things off with a brief analysis of his just-returned-from-injury teammate, point guard Steve Nash:

Pretty good description of the Lakers and Spurs combining to shoot 5 for 16 through the game's opening four minutes, I'd say.

[Also: Clippers ramp up pace to take 1-0 lead over Grizzlies]

Speaking of that shaky shooting, the Lakers' first eight field-goal attempts were jumpers. This fact did not escape the Mamba's notice.

Like, it really didn't escape his notice.

Really.

While the larger point makes sense — the one area in which the Lakers have a very apparent strength and the possibility of creating a mismatch is in the post with the combination of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol — the Lakers were largely unable to make the Spurs pay for loading up down low by knocking down perimeter shots, going just 4 for 15 on long jumpers and just 3 for 15 from 3-point range in Sunday's game, according to NBA.com's shot charts.

Bryant didn't seem thrilled with the Lakers' offensive game plan or their early defensive execution as San Antonio took a quick lead, but he did get some enjoyment out of the first-half action — like, for example, when ABC play-by-play man Mike Breen used a Kobe-inspired nickname for sharpshooting Spurs reserve Matt Bonner, who drew a foul while taking a 3-point shot:

We luv it too, Kobe — especially the way you're not only interacting with fans, but actually analyzing the game in the process:

While I think the interaction's great and the fans seem to love it, Kobe's not so sure the league office will agree:

The Spurs led by as many as 12 in the first half and took an eight-point lead into intermission, but the Lakers hung close thanks to unspectacular Spurs shooting, strong play from the frontcourt tandem of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, and a surprising two-way spark from guard Steve Blake. The combination of L.A.'s grit and San Antonio's inability to run away gave Bryant some third-quarter hope for swiping home-court advantage:

But eight points in the final 90 seconds of the third quarter from Manu Ginobili turned a seven-point Spurs lead into a 13-point advantage heading into the fourth, and the Spurs continued to put on the pressure throughout the final frame, opening up a 16-point lead after a Matt Bonner 3-pointer with 4:05 remaining. The Lakers' execution, especially with respect to shutting off Tony Parker's drive-and-kick game, displeased the Mamba:

Hey, if anyone knows matador defense when he sees it, it's the 2012-13 edition of Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers failed to mount much of an offensive attack as the clock ticked down, finishing 30 for 73 from the field with 18 turnovers as San Antonio earned a 91-79 win to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The punchless performance frustrated Bryant, much as it did every fan watching:

We'll assume he meant "brothers." Sometimes it's hard to tweet accurately when you're upset. We've all been there, Kobe. If it makes you feel any better, though, your old coach thinks your analysis was spot-on (even if he's not sure what your Twitter handle is):

See? Silver linings, and all that.

While Kobe's old coach seemed to think the injured guard had the right idea about the Lakers' strategic struggles, his current coach, Mike D'Antoni, seemed a bit less pleased, according to ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi:

That response seemed to take Bryant by surprise:

It's great to hear that, just as they've been all season, Bryant and D'Antoni appear to be on the same page.

To Bryant's credit, he gave D'Antoni the benefit of the doubt, telling followers he didn't think the coach meant anything by it:

... and making a little joke about the odd moment:

As we all know, the best way to #defuse any #AwkwardSituation is through the liberal deployment of #HashtagHumor. Sound strat, Kobe.

Later on Sunday, Bryant addressed all the attention that his tweets — as well as D'Antoni's comments about them and Bryant's response to those comments — had received throughout the afternoon and evening:

Whether that #notagain means Bryant stays away from Twitter during Game 2, which tips off Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. ET at the AT&T Center, remains to be seen. If so, we'll likely pay much more attention to the Lakers' performance ... which, after their offensive play Sunday, may or may not be such a good thing for them.

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