It’s Kobe Bryant’s jersey number, and now, the number of times he’s been named the Western Conference Player of the Week in his career.
For the second time this season, the NBA awarded the honor to Bryant in the West, while 2009 Finals opponent Dwight Howard of Orlando took the accolade in the East for games played Monday, Dec. 14, through Sunday, Dec. 20.
Bryant, despite dealing with an avulsion fracture on the index finger of his shooting hand, led the NBA in scoring (34.5 ppg) and added 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals (second in the Western Conference) in leading the Lakers to a 4-0 week on their Eastern Conference road trip.
Bryant kicked off his week in style with a 42-point effort in L.A.’s 96-87 win in Chicago, reaching his season high in scoring and marking the fifth time he’s scored at least 40 points in 26 games. Against Milwaukee on Dec. 16, Bryant scored 39 points, added seven boards and four assists and most notably swished a game-winning 15-footer in overtime, propelling the Lakers to a came Bryant’s buzzer-beating 15-footer in overtime, as his
On Dec. 19, last season’s Finals MVP recorded a double-double with 29 points and 10 rebounds in a 103-84 win over New Jersey, adding five helpers to the cause. The next night, Bryant tied his season high with five steals Dec. 19 in a 93-81 win over the Pistons, adding 28 points, three boards and four assists.
Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Joe Johnson, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Memphis’ Zach Randolph, Miami’s Dwyane Wade, Phoenix’s Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire and Portland’s Brandon Roy.