Kobe’s Back ... and he’s Ballin’
Posted Dec 7 2006 7:50PM
More important, what was a seven-point Laker lead early in the third became a 22-point cushion by the time the period was done. Much like the night of 81, the Kobe run was a Laker run. So back off haters!
And this was no defensively deficient Toronto Raptors team (second worst in the league last season) here. The Jazz are a decent defensive squad, sixth in the league in field goal percentage against coming into last night. And oh yeah, they came into Staples Center with the best record in the Association. By the way, they still had it (a game ahead of the red-hot Mavs) as they flew home.
Still, perhaps throwing a second defender at some point before he had already scored 30 in the quarter would have been a good idea, fellas. As soon as you sense one of these outbursts (check his eyes; they'll tell you), you gotta get the ball out his hands, or don't even let it get into them in the first place.
He took it to the hole, exploding for a couple of facials on Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur. He stroked it from downtown. He pulled up from mid-range. Kobe Bryant was so on last night, he even made Lindsay Lohan (sitting in the second row) look good.
Kobe Bryant is the most polarizing player in the league today. Love him or hate him. There's not really another choice. LeBron, D-Wade and Vince Carter have just as passionate fans, but the haters just don't hate them quite as much.
At times, I think he takes bad shots. I didn't exactly react positively when I read about his last-possession decision to not pass the ball to Lamar Odom the other night. He beat my team in their first ever trip to the NBA Finals.
But in general, I like Kobe. He's a student of the game. He's a good interview. No player in this league works harder than he does. Watch him play defense when the Lakers play the Nets and he's guarding Carter. He becomes the best defender in the league. Those are characteristics of a reality guy.
And of course, Kobe is just flat-out fun to watch.
There was the 81-point game, along with five other 50-plus performances last season. And the game-winners. Even if you're not a Laker fan, you got a thrill when that shot (shots if you count the one that tied it in overtime) in Game 4 against the Suns went through the net. Kobe Bryant makes magic moments like that more often than anyone else.
He'll surely go for 50-plus again this year. And the game-winners will come too. You may not watch every Laker game, but if they're playing, you always gotta check out the boxscore or take a peak while the game you're watching is in a timeout.
The knee injury slowed him down to start the season, but last night, Kobe showed us that he is back. Prepare for more thrills.
Dear Laker fans,
No matter how hot your boy is, you absolutely can not start an MVP chant in Game 15 of the season. Gotta go with "Ko-Bee, Ko-Bee, Ko-Bee" there.
New Schuhmann rule: No MVP chants until at least Game 65.
In case you missed it yesterday, I became a big Adam Morrison fan this week.
After last week's column, the Suns held the Nets to 13 assists on 39 field goals on ESPN Friday night. Of course, they won. As promised, we'll look at opponents' assist/field goal ratio more down the line.
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