Kobe Bryant maxing out his minutes, production

Kobe Bryant will always be associated with the number 81, and with good reason. But here are two more digits tied to Bryant that are just as eye-popping: 79.

As in 79 seconds, the total amount of time Bryant has sat in the Los Angeles Lakers’ last two games — both wins — coming just shy of going the distance and playing the maximum 96 minutes.

Bryant scoring in the 80s as a 27-year-old was one thing. But to play two entire games in a row as a 34-year-old nursing a bum left ankle that exacerbated a bone spur in his left foot? And then to not only play that much time, but to average 21 points, 12.5 assists, 10 rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot? Well, that’s another thing altogether.

“Hopefully all those minutes that he’s playing won’t affect him in a negative way down the road,” Pau Gasol said. “He’s giving it all. He knows the importance of this time of the year, and he’s just fully working and fully playing at his best.”

– Reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles