“That’s not what basketball is about,” Jackson said. “Basketball is about playing as a team and finding a functioning level.” The Lakers have gone 3-0, with Bryant scoring 48, 50 and 45 points, since he returned from a two-game suspension. Yet Jackson was left talking to his other starters Tuesday at practice about seizing their own opportunities in the triangle offense. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita There is a balance between Bryant and the others. And Jackson is hoping to find it. “When it doesn’t produce wins, that’s the fine line,” Jackson said. “And then players have to be playing spontaneously, with the freedom and they also have to feel like they’re a part of it. If they are, then they play at a better level.” Bryant still has a ways to go to match what Chamberlain did in November 1962, when he scored 45 points or more in nine consecutive games. Bryant, Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor are the only players in history to have had even a four-game streak. Jackson, meanwhile, told reporters the story about a fateful conversation he had with Michael Jordan after he first took over as Chicago Bulls coach. Jackson told Jordan simply that he was shooting and scoring too much for the good of the team. “If you can shoot 50 percent or close to 50 percent … then that makes sense for us as a basketball team because we’re getting accomplished what we have to get accomplished,” Jackson said. “If you can’t, then it detracts from the best nature of the team and the best opportunities the team has.” EL SEGUNDO – As long as the Lakers keep winning, coach Phil Jackson will come along for the Kobe Bryant scoring show, which now has led to talk of an MVP season and the mention of Bryant’s name among the NBA’s all-time greats. But Jackson is far from enamored with the numbers – four consecutive games of scoring 45 points or more, the first player to do so since Wilt Chamberlain in November 1964 – that Bryant has put up. It has been the perfect storm for Bryant to showcase himself as a scorer. He returned from suspension, which gave him a couple of days away from the game, to find the Lakers having lost five in a row and out of the Western Conference’s top eight. Bryant also has flourished this season in moving from the backcourt to the wing, an attacking position rather than one with the responsibility of getting others involved. He can almost direct the ball into his hands on offense, especially when posting up, while his teammates have struggled with the triangle’s ins and outs. Bryant is shooting 44.3 percent this season and has taken 30 or more shots in 14 games this season. “That’s not a line that I have to walk anymore,” Bryant said. “My role is, if they need me to put points on the board, I do that. If I’m double-teamed, triple-teamed, I don’t have anything rolling, I kick the ball out to my shooters.” Bryant has accounted for a staggering 34.9 percent of the Lakers’ scoring in the games he has played. He had 45 points Monday night against Indiana on 14 of 32 shooting, with 14 points in the first quarter and 17 in the fourth. Jackson has played Bryant the entire second half of the past two games, with Bryant showing some effects at the end of the Pacers game. He missed four free throws in the fourth quarter, uncharacteristic for an 80 percent foul shooter. The only question tonight might be how long Bryant stays on the court against the Portland Trail Blazers, who have lost six in a row and were accused by coach Nate McMillan of quitting in a 118-89 loss to Miami on Sunday. The Blazers do have the self-proclaimed Kobe stopper in forward Ruben Patterson, who has been coming off the bench. Jackson jokingly said he hoped Bryant would score 50, the Lakers would score 150, and everyone would be happy. Then there were the words of rookie center Andrew Bynum, who finished two pick-and-rolls with Bryant for baskets Monday. Bynum was asked what he thought of the exhibition Bryant has put on. “Every time he comes out of the game, all I say is put the hero back in,” Bynum said. “It’s like a video game, he’s just going out there and scoring a crazy amount of points.” Ross Siler, (818) 713-3610 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!