Despite the scoreboard showing the Los Angeles Lakers losing to the Dallas Mavericks on opening night 99-91, the Lakers actually won while losing.
The most significant win for the Lakers last night was Kobe Bryant's scorching 11 of 14 (78.6%) shooting in his first game with teammates Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.
According to basketball-reference, Kobe's 78.6% shooting tied his career best for games in which he attempted at least 14 field goals.
Bryant also went 11 of 14 in 2001 against the Golden State Warriors, but he has never shot better from the floor than he did last night.
Kobe's Declining Shooting Percentage
In previous years Kobe has had the tendency to shoot the Lakers out of some games. As I have previously written, the more Kobe shoots, the more Los Angeles loses.
Bryant's field goal percentage has dropped in each of the last three seasons.
After shooting 46.7% in 2009 his accuracy dropped to 45.6% in 2010, 45.1% in 2011, and an ice-cold 43.0% last year.
The Significance of 11 of 14
Kobe's 11 of 14 shooting was significant for two reasons.
First, the 14 field goals he attempted were far fewer than the 23.0 shots he attempted in 2012. Last year Kobe noticeably forced a number of shots each game, which contributed to his poor field goal percentage.
Second, it is nothing short of amazing that Kobe would have a career best shooting night in his first game with new teammates and battling injuries that nearly kept him out of the lineup.
Just think about it:
Kobe Bryant had attempted at least 14 field goals in 928 of his career games going into last night.
In only one of those 928 career games did Bryant shoot as well as he did against the Mavs.
Losing the Game, Winning the War
The formula for a successful 2012-2013 campaign for the Los Angeles Lakers will undoubtedly require Kobe Bryant to shoot fewer shots than he has in the past while making a much better percentage.
With one game in the books with his new teammates, Kobe did just that.
Sure, the Lakers may have lost the game last night.
But they also may have won a far more important war.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, or check these out articles:
- Sports & Recreation
- Kobe Bryant
- Los Angeles Lakers
- field goal percentage