By Ben Golliver
NBA elder statesman Kobe Bryant showed that he could keep up with the kids on Friday morning, ending a years-long holdout by finally joining Twitter. A few hours later, the Lakers All-Star' guard proved that he can still jump like a teenager too.
With a little more than five minutes remaining in the first quarter of a 107-102 loss to the Clippers at the Staples Center, Bryant jumped the passing lane on defense, deflecting a Chris Paul pass into the open court. Bryant chased down the loose ball and attacked the hoop in transition without delay, rising up from the left side of the court to throw down a monster right-handed slam over Paul, who had given chase after his turnover. This was your textbook "hammer" slam.
That was just the beginning of a busy night for Bryant, who finished with a game-high 38 points, three assists and five steals and shot 15-for-24 from the field in 44 minutes. During the fourth quarter, he waged an extended back-and-forth battle with Paul, who finished with 30 points, 13 assists, six rebounds and two steals and scored the Clippers' final eight points to seal the win.
Bryant had a memorable moment with 1:29 remaining in the game, though, isolating against Clippers forward Matt Barnes to hit a pull-up jumper that cut the Clippers' lead to 99-97. Replays showed the NBA's scoring leader chewing on his jersey as he set up the crossover dribble move that freed him from Barnes. Take a look.
The highlight-heavy performance from Bryant wasn't enough for the Lakers, who fell to 15-17 with the loss. The Clippers improved to 26-8. Second video via YouTube user NBAus3030