Sportress of Blogitude

Kobe Bryant ‘as puzzled by it as you are’ over great three-game stretch

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Kobe Bryant put up his third consecutive blast-from-the-past performance in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 99-96 road victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night. And given how he has struggled so mightily for significant stretches during his 2015-16 NBA season swan song, the 37-year-old soon-to-be retiree is having difficulty explaining why he’s played so well of late.

“I’m as puzzled by it as you are,” Bryant said, via ESPN. “I don’t know what to tell you.”

Bryant scored 27 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in Thursday’s victory, meaning he has averaged 29.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 50 percent from three-point range in the last three Lakers games, with the last two performances producing victories.

Regarding his virtuoso performances of late, Bryant said after the game he knew he was “capable of doing it” and that the “consistency” of how he prepares himself for games is starting to pay off. He added he remained stubborn through his struggles and remained committed to “stay with the process as I always have and see what happens.”

A microcosm of Bryant’s season played out late in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s victory. He got posterized by Ryan Anderson with the Pelicans mounting a comeback.

But Bryant got the last laugh when, with the Lakers clinging to a 95-92 lead with less than a minute remaining, delivered the dagger, burying a three-pointer for a six-point lead that he celebrated by wagging his finger.

Bryant discussed the events that closed out the win after the game.

“And tonight, the basketball gods saw to it that Ryan Anderson dunked on me,” he said. “I laughed all the way up the court [after it happened], and I thought the crowd had a good time doing it. Then when I hit the 3, it kind of added a little to it. It was fantastic. It was awesome.”