Kobe Bryant.

Lakers players praise Kobe Bryant's 'coach' role in shock Warriors result

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As the clock wound down on the Los Angeles Lakers' stunning upset win over the Golden State Warriors, the Staples Center crowd chanted the name of Kobe Bryant.

In truth, however, the Black Mamba's role on the hardwood on Sunday night was limited - he finished the game with 12 points and three assists in 24 minutes of action and sat out the entire fourth quarter as the Lakers' young backcourt took the game to the reigning champions.

While, though, Bryant's on-court impact may have been secondary, the Lakers roster were keen to highlight the veteran's crucial role from the sidelines during the latter stages of the game.

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Coach Kobe

"He led us,” explained second-year star Julius Randle told "Any time (Bryant) thought there was any little slippage or whatever, he was on us.”

Sitting for the entire fourth quarter due to his persistent shoulder issue, a lot of that leadership came from courtside and, from what his teammates had to say, it certainly sounds like Kobe was doing his best impression of a coach against Golden State.

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"He’s very aggressive with his words,” revealed Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell.

“I can’t really say what he was saying, but it was very aggressive. But he got the bigs to push up and the guards to push up (defensively on pick-and-rolls) and play tougher. Kobe did his thing.”

“He was coaching us the whole game from the sideline. Metta (too) — they were doing a great job of coaching us on the sideline, telling us to push it when you got it, (saying) ’Don’t wait.’ It worked.”

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets

Even with his retirement drawing ever closer, Bryant has always insisted that he doesn't see his future in coaching. Hearing evidence of his guidance role in one of the biggest shocks in regular season history, that might be a great loss for the game.

Although the Lakers have struggled mightily this season - posting a 13-51 record only good enough for second worst in the NBA - last night's game was evidence of what could be to come.

Young stars like Randle, Russell and Jordan Clarkson won their battles against some of the best players in the NBA. Being able to call on the advice of an experienced future Hall of Famer like Kobe clearly helped them get over the line.

Coach credit

Of course, the work of the Lakers' actual coach, Byron Scott, in the famous franchise's surprise victory shouldn't go underestimated either.

It has been a tough year for Scott and the Lakers but, on Sunday, the former Showtime-era star was able to pull off something so many coaches have failed to do in 2015-16 - find the right gameplan to beat a relentless Golden State roster.

Julius Randle
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Kobe Bryant
D'Angelo Russell
Golden State Warriors

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