Kobe getting healthier, better

60545354Kobe Bryant sat out four of the Lakers’ final five regular season games to rest his sore right knee, then struggled with his ailment through the first four games of the team’s First Round series against Oklahoma City.

That the 2009 Finals MVP wasn’t playing like himself was pretty obvious from his jump shot alone, as his lack of usual burst saw him shoot a combined 33-for-86, just 38.4 percent, from the field.

But after Game 4, a 110-89 road loss, Bryant got the knee drained (as he confirmed after Monday’s practice heading into Tuesday’s Game 4 at Phoenix), and he’s looked like … well … Kobe Bryant, since.

In Game 5 of the OKC series, Bryant’s 13 points and seven assists were misleading as he led a dominating performance that created an 18-point halftime lead and allowed him to watch from the bench in the fourth quarter.

60545172From that point on, Bryant took off, scoring at least 30 points in six straight playoff games, all wins, before a 21-point, 13-assist (his playoff career high) performance in Game 2 of the Suns’ series and a near triple-double (36 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds) in Game 3.

(*UPDATED) Then Bryant was even better in Game 4, posting 38 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds in a second consecutive loss.

Scoring wise, Bryant averaged 24 points on 38.4 percent shooting pre knee drain, and has averaged 30.8 points on 53.1 percent in the ten games since, eight of which were Lakers wins.

Here’s a breakdown of Bryant’s game-by-game numbers, including assists and rebounds, throughout the playoffs:

Conference Finals vs. Phoenix
Game 1: 40 points on 13-of-23 FG’s (56.5%); 5 assists; 5 rebounds
Game 2: 21 points on 8-of-18 FG’s (44.4%); 13 assists**; 5 rebounds
Game 3: 36 points on 13-of-24 FG’s (54.2%); 11 assists; 9 rebounds
Game 4: 38 points on 15-of-22 FG’s (68.2%); 10 assists; 7 rebounds
**Playoff career high
SERIES AVERAGES: 33.8 points; 55.7% FG’s; 9.8 assists; 6.5 rebounds

Semifinals vs. Utah
Game 1: 31 points on 12-of-19 FG’s (63.2%); 4 assists; 3 rebounds
Game 2: 30 points on 10-of-22 FG’s (45.5%); 8 assists; 5 rebounds
Game 3: 35 points on 13-of-24 FG’s (54.2%); 7 assists; 4 rebounds
Game 4: 32 points on 11-of-23 FG’s (47.8%); 4 assists; 3 rebounds
SERIES: 32.0 points; 52.3% FG’s; 5.8 assists; 3.8 rebounds

First Round vs. Oklahoma City
Game 1: 21 points on 6-of-19 FG’s (31.6%); 3 assists; 2 rebounds
Game 2: 39 points on 12-of-28 FG’s (42.9%); 1 assist; 5 rebounds
Game 3: 24 points on 10-of-29 FG’s (34.5%); 8 assists; 4 rebounds
Game 4: 12 points on 5-of-10 FG’s (50%); 4 assists; 3 rebounds
Game 5: 13 points on 4-of-9 FG’s (44.4%); 7 assists; 3 rebounds
Game 6: 32 points on 12-of-25 FG’s (48.0%); 3 assists; 7 rebounds
SERIES: 23.5 points; 40.8% FG’s; 4.3 assists; 4.0 rebounds

PLAYOFF TOTALS: 28.2 points; 47.1% FG’s; 6.0 assists; 4.5 rebounds; 1.0 steals