The Los Angeles Lakers advanced to the Western Conference Finals with an 89-70 victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of their series. And Kobe can breathe a sigh of relief. Even without Yao Ming for some of the series, the Rockets still pushed the Lakers to the brink of elimination and for Kobe to a career-crippling defeat. Kobe has faced so much scrutiny over the years for his character, his skill, his attitude, but this was a bit different.
This was Kobe vs Shane Battier. People have always wondered how good Kobe is, if he can carry a team to a championship, and if he is as good as Jordan (he’s not). This time though it was is Battier better at defense than Kobe is at offense. This was new to Kobe.
This Rocket team has limited scoring, especially with Yao out, but has great defensive players in Battier and Artest amongst others. Could the defensive stalwarts of Houston outlast Kobe and his Lakers?
Battier played defense on Kobe like Kobe had never faced before throughout the entire series. Every shot, Battier has his hand millimeters from Kobe’s face. He fights through screens and hip checks every possession. He pushes Kobe around and forces him to his inefficiencies. Still, Kobe hits a shot and struts back up the court saying, “He can’t guard me” Continue reading “Kobe Survives”