CLEVELAND -- Kobe Bryant didn't mince words about the state of his oft-injured 37-year-old body entering the All-Star break.
"[I] feel horrible," the Los Angeles Lakers icon said Wednesday after playing his final game in Cleveland, a 120-111 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. "My ankles, knees, everything. This stretch couldn't come at a better time. My ankles hurt. My knees hurt. So I'm looking forward to having a complete week where I just do nothing."
Bryant scored 17 points on 5-of-16 shooting in 33 minutes against the Cavaliers.
Later, when Bryant, whose past three seasons have all been cut short by injury, rose from his chair after a postgame press conference, he groaned, "Oh my god." He then gingerly walked toward a nearby door after sitting for nearly 12 straight minutes.
Bryant, who announced his plans to retire this summer after his 20th NBA season, was selected by fans to start for the Western Conference in the 2016 NBA All-Star Game in Toronto on Sunday.
It was Bryant's 18th selection to the All-Star Game, the second-most behind fellow Laker legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19).
Bryant is expected to have a busy schedule leading up to the game, considering it's his last All-Star Game, but he said he'll work to manage his time carefully to help preserve his body.
"It is busy but it's also very selective," he said. "There's certain things that we'll do that's short bursts of appearances, but nothing too long, nothing where I'm on my feet for long periods of time. It's also the last one, so I try to enjoy it as much as I can. But it's no running, it's no pounding, it's none of that stuff. It's rest with plenty of ice baths in between."
Lakers coach Byron Scott said he has spoken to Bryant about getting some rest during the break.
"It's going to be almost 24-7 [for him]," Scott said. "I'll probably go to bed at night wondering if he's getting any sleep at all and how he's going to feel for the next day."
Scott said he trusts San Antonio Spurs
CLEVELAND – After shootaround Wednesday, Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott once again discussed his relationship with rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell, a hot-button issue throughout the season, as Scott has continually criticized the 2015 No. 2 draft pick with backhanded remarks on a near-daily basis.
“I haven't been the easiest man on him in the world,” Scott said hours before his Lakers fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-111 at Quicken Loans Arena. “But I always seem to go back to thinking -- after I've been so hard on him on certain occasions -- that he's 19 years old, and he's just a kid playing in a man's world. I know the potential is there. He's just got to keep working at it. I'm going to stay on him because I think he has a chance to be a very good basketball player.”
Later Wednesday, Scott further critiqued Russell by saying the former Ohio State standout is not as mature as other top-flight rookie point guards Scott coached, such as Kyrie Irving in Cleveland and Chris Paul in New Orleans.
“[Irving] was just a little bit more mature,” Scott said. “At 19, he was a little bit more businesslike at practice and games. D’Angelo still has a playfulness about him. Sometimes in practice he’s joking around and losing a little bit of focus. But he’s 19. I understand that. Chris Paul was probably like 23 years old by the time he came into the league in his mental capacity. But like I said, each point guard, each guy I have, is different.”
Scott was then asked if he meant Russell’s “playfulness” was a negative trait.
“I didn’t say it was a bad thing, but it is a bad thing at times,” Scott said. “There’s always a time to be serious, and there’s always a time to joke around. So I’m not saying it’s a bad thing -- I’m saying he’s 19. I understand it. I’m not saying it’s bad or good, but Chris Paul wasn’t like that, and Kyrie was a little bit, but not that much. But like I said, again, they’re all different, and I accept that.”
Scott reiterated that Russell isn't as developed as Irving at that age.
“Kyrie was a lot farther along,” Scott said. “Kyrie, offensively, there was no weaknesses, and I haven’t seen that in a 19-year-old since. And he’s probably the first. He was more prepared from an offensive standpoint than Chris Paul was his rookie year, and I think I said that as well. Kyrie was just so much more advanced -- on the defensive end was a different story -- but offensively, he’s just gifted. Very mature, very smart, so it was a lot easier. This is a totally different situation.
"Each point guard that I’ve had is a totally different situation. D’Angelo is in a situation that is totally different from Kyrie and Chris Paul and Jason Kidd and other guys I’ve had. I treat them according to what they bring to the table. Like I said with D’Angelo, I know he’s going to get there.”
CLEVELAND -- Kobe Bryant's final game in Cleveland was reduced to a sideshow when Cavaliers forward Kevin Love re-injured his surgically repaired left shoulder in the first half of a 120-111 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.
Love quickly left the floor late in the second quarter after he got hurt while working in the post against Bryant. He did not return in the second half, and the Cavs did not provide any specifics about his injury.
Bryant finished with 17 points in his last performance in Cleveland. Lou Williams scored 28 to lead the Lakers, who have dropped 13 of 15.