LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant is known as a volume shooter and a dominant scorer -- and rightly so.
Bryant also has five of the top seven games in league history as far as the most field-goal attempts in a regular-season game.
He’s also the third all-time leading scorer in league history and has the second-most points in a game in league history (81) behind Wilt Chamberlain (100 in 1962).
But, perhaps overshadowed because of all those buckets, Bryant has also piled up plenty of assists through his career, now in its 20th season, and on Sunday the 37-year-old passed Jerry West (6,238) for second place on the Lakers' career assist list.
Bryant moved ahead of West, a fellow Lakers icon, on a pass to Lou Williams with 6 minutes, 9 seconds left in the first quarter.
“It means a lot,” said Bryant, who trails only Magic Johnson (10,141) on the Lakers’ franchise list. “It’s an accomplishment I’m really, really proud of.”
Bryant, who leads or is near the top of almost every statically category in Lakers franchise history, also explained his approach to passing.
“You have to keep the defense honest,” said Bryant, who finished with five points and nine assists in 24 minutes against the Rockets. “You’ve got to be able to make plays and make passes to have the defense fear you as a passer. If they don’t, you can’t score 40 points, you can’t score 50 points, because they can just load up on you. So you’ve got to be able to be feared as a passer.”
Is there a process to Bryant balancing his role as a facilitator and scorer? Much of it depends on how the defense is playing him. If he is double-teamed, as he was early on Sunday, he tends to find more open teammates. If he’s single-covered, he tends to look to score.
“I dish. It’s on them whether they make it or not,” Bryant said of his teammates. “It’s not rocket science to me. If I handle the ball and I penetrate, I can find guys pretty easily and pass the ball pretty well. It’s nothing new.”