Kobe Survives

Rockets Lakers BasketballThe 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?

Almost.

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”

Why The Lakers Won’t Win It All

The NBA Playoffs get underway tomorrow and everyone is expecting either the Cavs or Lakers to walk away as NBA Champions. With KG going down, most people have given the Boston Celtics very little chance of repeating. I agree. KG is the Celtics’ heart and soul and even though Paul Pierce is the best player on that team. their defense will be too weak and offense too unreliable for them to contend with Cleveland.

Speaking of Cleveland, they are the best team in the NBA. Period. They aren’t guaranteed to win the title, because the best team does not necessarily win it all, but I have them as the heavy favorites to win the crown. I don’t want to talk about the Cavs, though. Everyone knows about them.

Maybe its the East coast bias on ESPN, but I haven’t been hearing much about the Lakers except that everyone expects them to challenge for the title. However, let’s make this clear: THE LAKERS ARE POSERS

Here’s why:

  1. Kobe isn’t good enough. Not many times has that phrase been said, but he still needs to become more of a team player. He’s averaging less than five assists a game and that isn’t good enough. LeBron? He’s averaging over seven assists per game and is shooting a better FG% (48.9 for Lebron vs 46.7 for Kobe). If Kobe ever wants to win the championship with him as the leader of the Lakers, he needs to distribute more. Continue reading “Why The Lakers Won’t Win It All”

Gold Redeemed

Photo: ESPN

After 8 years if embarrassment, the United States’ Mens’ Olympic Basketball Team is back on top. While most of the country slept this morning, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and company squeaked out a 118-107 win over Spain to capturethe gold medal. Dwayne Wade scored 27 points and Kobe added 20 in a hard-fought, offensive game in which the US led by only 2 points with a couple minutes remaining. The US beat Spain by 37 points earlier in the Olympics and most people expected a similar result in the gold medal game. Spain had different ideas however. They came out ready to play and never let up. As a team, the Spaniards shot 51.4% from the field and 47.1% from 3-point range. They out-rebounded the US 37-31 and had only one fewer assist then the Gold Medal Winners. Pau Gasol had 21 points for Spain while Rudy Fernandez had 22 points. In what was supposed to be a celebration game for the US, Spain nearly pulled the upset of the Olympics.

As I look back on this gold medal run for the US team I have to wonder, why was this final game so close? Except for a preliminary game against Australia, the Americans destroyed every other team they met except for last morning’s game. They beat this Spanish team by 37 points earlier in the games and Spain was missing Jose Calderon this time. There is one glaring difference between the gold medal game and every other game the US played. The US took the final game for granted. Theystopped their throttling defense and yes, Spain shot the lights out, but they also had more wide open jumpers than any team that has played the US so far. It shouldn’t have been close, but it was. Kobe saved the team from another embarrassing upset by scoring 13 key points in the 4th quarter, including a four-point play in the final minutes of the game. Continue reading “Gold Redeemed”