Lakers Bow to Barcelona in Exhibition

Kobe BryantKobe Bryant missed three three-point shots in the last one minute of the match, allowing Euroleague champion Barcelona to escape with a 92-88 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Spain.

Bryant missed all but two of his 15 shots in 25 minutes of action. He finished with 15 points, scoring mostly on free throws. Pau Gasol scored 25 points but also had an anemic shooting night, going seven for 21 against arguably the best professional team in his native Spain.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Bryant was clearly not yet ready to play. “He’s going out there to help the goodwill and to show the fans his presence on the floor and support his teammates,” Jackson said. Bryant, however, insisted that his surgically repaired knee was no longer a problem. “My knee was feeling good. I was feeling fine, didn’t have any pain, any stiffness,” Bryant said.

The loss meant that the Lakers ended their European tour without a win, following a defeat against the Minnesota Timberwolves in London earlier this week.

The Lakers will open their season against the Houston Rockers on October 26.