Kobe Bryant and Gordon Hayward both received lucrative contract extensions during the off-season.
The two battled during exhibition play with Bryant winning the personal battle, while Hayward’s Utah Jazz squad won the war, 119-86.
But that didn’t stop Bryant from jostling in the post with Hayward, once even drawing an offensive foul. As with Steph Curry a few nights earlier, he took on the challenge of fiercely harassing Hayward in a supposedly meaningless game.
Bryant played with purpose after being ranked ESPN as the 40th best-player.
“I’ve known for a long time that they’re a bunch of idiots,” said a wry smiling Bryant.
He continued to display excellent footwork and court savvy, including putting rookie Rodney Hood in the popcorn machine on a three-point play in the first quarter. He is effectively utilizing the screen-roll, and showed he can still get to the basket by driving past Hayward for a dish to Carlos Boozer.
“I would just hate to be one of the guys that doubted him,” Scott said. “I know he’s going to get stronger. I think he’ll have the last laugh.”
Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and Carlos Boozer had 17, but the Lakers couldn’t hit from beyond the arc, missing all five attempts.