Archive for the ‘Kobe Bryant’ Category

I Enjoyed Kobe Too
June 11, 2008

box score

There was Kobe Bryant last night… gliding through the air… flailing like a cartoon character falling off a cliff every time he got touched… and shooting.  Oh… was Kobe ever shooting.  A lot.

And I loved it.

Kobe shot 12 of 20 last night.  Better than 50%.  Good shooting night from Kobe.  But it was his, ahem, passing that I REALLY loved to watch.  All… ONE… of his assists were gorgeous.  See for yourself: It was this one… to Pau Gasol (the look on his face is priceless.  “Zee ball… she finally escapes Zee Mamba!”). 

It didn’t matter if 2 guys were on him with Pau Gasol wide open.  Or if he had 2 options to give a teammate and easy dunk.  Or if he was way off balance with 3 guys staring at him (leaving SOMEONE open).  Or if he was so far under the basket that it would have seemed like a bad shot for even plastic man to attempt.  Or… well… you get the point.

Kobe Bryant shot the ball 20 times.  Sasha Vujacic was second on the team… with 10 attempts.

I will take that kind of game from Kobe every time.  In fact… I’m begging him to play that exact same game again.  Same for the rest of the Lakers.  If there is some magic spell that would allow for all of those same shot attempts in Game 4… I’d sign up for it right now.

Because Kobe was “Bad Kobe” last night.  Sure, he was on fire… but don’t be fooled…  He was “Bad Kobe” through and through.  Doubling up your teammates shot attempts is big-time bad.  One assist is mega-bad.  87 points from the “vaunted” Lakers offense… at home… in Game 3 of the Finals… is a boy-band made up of week-one ‘American Idol’ rejects bad. 

The Lakers need Pau Gasol to have MVP-type numbers for them to have a real chance… But Kobe Bryant needs to be the MVP.  Kobe will never… EVER… allow anyone to look back at these Finals and say “sure… you won without Shaq… but Gasol was the Finals MVP.”

So keep shooting Kobe.  Take 20 shots again in Game 4.  25 even.  Hell… make it an even 30.  Every shot you hoist… just makes things easier for the Celtics.

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Paul Pierce > Kobe Bryant
June 10, 2008

This is always a fun one for Lakers fans.  We’ve been saying this for a while.  In facthere’s a little something from 2 years ago

The simple fact of the matter is that Paul Pierce is, was, and will continue to be better for an NBA team than Kobe Bryant. 

Sure, Kobe’s more explosive, athletic and prone to give you a “SportsCenter” moment… but Paul Pierce has been just as effective,  more efficient, and a better influence on his team.  Their career averages are all virtually equal… yet Pierce has had far fewer public meltdowns and squabbles.

And now, in these NBA Finals, both players are putting their legacies on the line.  Pierce risks being branded as a second-tier star that is doomed to a ring-less retirement and a slow fade into obscurity as the years pass.  Kobe risks being the guy who could never climb into that pantheon of mega-stars that could single-handedly carry his team to a title.

Everyone (at least, everyone not in Boston) figured Kobe was a lock.  The word “coronation” was thrown around a lot.  But the funny thing is that so far… Paul Pierce is the far better player.  In fact… their Finals numbers look a lot like their career numbers:  Pierce is averaging a couple of points less while taking fewer shots and shooting a higher percentage.

At this rate, Paul Pierce will be the Finals MVP… and Kobe faces the prospect of never getting out of Shaq’s shadow.  LA fans will never accept that Pierce is in Kobe’s class… but Pierce isn’t giving rational basketball fans much choice. 

(He’s also winning over the media… both nationally…(here too)… and at home)

Where Have I Heard This Before?
June 7, 2008

Celtics-Lakers, Game 1.  Boston’s stifling team defense keeps arguably the best player in the game out on the perimeter and out of the lane.  The superstar shoots an uncharacteristically low percentage.  “I had some good looks, they just didn’t go down for me,” a resolute Kobe Bryant said.

Celtics-Cavaliers, Game 1.  Boston’s stifling team defense keeps arguably the best player in the game out on the perimeter and out of the lane.  The superstar shoots an uncharacteristically low percentage.  “I missed a lot of shots I know I can make,” James said, staring at the stat sheet incredulously.

I don’t know what Game 2 of the NBA Finals is going to bring… but I do know this:  The Celtics can successfully keep a perimeter star that wants to drive… out on the perimeter.  They have a plan of attack on defense that forces that perimeter player to do just enough different… that those shots fall just short… or just long.  The difference between the Lakers and the Cavs is… the Cavs are a much better rebounding team.  If the D can keep Kobe just off balance enough in Game 2…. he WILL go into hero-mode… and we’re going to see the good ol’ 25-30 shot, no-pass Kobe try to find his range.

Kobe has a legacy to consider here.  He’s going to try to win this on his own.  I think the C’s will be happy to let him try.

“I Thought My Days As A Celtic Were Pretty Much Over”
June 4, 2008

paul pierceScott Souza has a few notes coming out of what is becoming a growing media circus… which is to be expected. 

The one thing that stuck out to me was Paul Pierce… talking about the offseason conversations he had with Kobe.

“Neither of us thought we’d be back on our teams. … I thought it was time to move on and do something about it. I thought my days as a Celtic were pretty much over.”

Then Souza puts its it all perfectly:

The difference, of course, is that Pierce expressed himself to the Celtics management, while Bryant did a full media tour where he trashed teammates and said he would rather “play on Pluto.”

It goes to show the difference between those two players.  One guy has 3 rings, and was willing to trade away guys who have been key contributors this season.  The other has spent 10 frustrating years in a franchise that as been in disarray.  But Paul kept quiet and talked only to management.  Kobe was all over the web… telling people to “go buy a Bulls Jersey” and “Dr. Buss is an idiot.”

One other thing of note from the Zen master… regarding this season’s C’s-Lakers matchups.  I don’t know if he’s kidding here.

“The game in late December was much more reflective of the team. However, we wore those short shorts that night and lost our attitude early in the game. I think the guys got a little tight.”

Really?

Keep Shooting Kobe
June 4, 2008

kobe bryantIt’s a big question:  How will the Celtics defend Kobe Bryant?

The answer might be… to let him keep shooting.

Regular Season Results

20 Or More Field Goal Attempts: 26-18, .591

19 Or Less Field Goal Attempts: 31-7, .816

Playoff Results

20 Or More Field Goal Attempts: 6-3, .667

19 Or Less Field Goal Attempts: 6-0, 1.000

The more shots he takes… the less the rest of the team is involved in the offense.   That means Lamar Odom is more likely to drift off… and the Euros are more likely to whine about not shooting (which makes them more likely to jack up ugly shots when they DO touch the ball). 

So keep shooting, Kobe.  Maybe we’ll get an added bonus of you yelling angrily at your teammates

Stephen A. Smith Makes Me Want To Vomit
May 30, 2008

I know… what is it this time??

One year ago today, Kobe Bryant pulled his big douchebag move and demanded a trade from the Lakers.  Now, one year later, the Lakers are in the finals.  Now everyone’s blowing Kobe because he led his team to the finals… including Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning (audio link):

“I don’t think this has ever happened in my lifetime, not that I can think of.  I can’t think of anybody that had had such a complete 180 occur in their career.  To consider how despondent he was… you gotta remember I had spoken to him a couple of days prior to him coming on my radio  show last year and announcing to the world that he wanted to be traded and for exactly a year later to be in the situation where he’s the reigning league MVP… where he’s on his way to the NBA finals… where its entirely possible and likely that he’ll capture an NBA world championship just two months removed from leading the United States to a gold medal… considering all the things he’s accomplished and the metamorphosis that has taken place in regards to his image… I’ve never seen anything like it, I really haven’t.  But its a tribute to him… its unprecedented… its miraculous… but you talk about the American Dream and how anything is possible… definitely… when you look at what has transpired with him over the last year you can’t argue.  As Don King will tell you… only in America.”

Where do I start?

Kobe Bryant was an MVP candidate last year who led his team to a 7th seed.  Afterwards, he dickishly took his trade demands to YouTube.  This year, he won the MVP and led his team to a 1 seed. 

Where, pray tell, is the turn around?  Where, kind sir, is this miraculous, unprecedented American Dream? 

The Lakers, after improved play from Andrew Bynum, the return of a stabilizing force in Derek Fisher, and a trade that most people consider so lopsided that they half-jokingly called for an investigation… have made the NBA finals.  Turnaround? 

Dare I say that this was expected from Kobe Bryant and the Lakers? 

This wind-bag hyperbole fest is exactly why people like me hate Stephen A. Smith.  To flat out say that a perennial MVP candidate experienced some kind of metamorphosis simply because his GM had enough smarts not to trade him for pennies on the dollar is one of the most ridiculous arguments that I’ve ever heard.  Congratulations to Kobe for coming out and actually playing up to his potential after not getting traded. 

Stephen A…. that’s not a turnaround… Kobe simply did his job.  He had a great season.  He deserved the MVP.  His team dserved to be in the Finals.  But this was NOT a turnaround.

I guarantee you this:  Paul Pierce won’t get this kind of blowjob on ESPN if the C’s advance.  Meanwhile… he was the beneficiary of a similar trade… he also hinted at trade demands in the offseason… but he has ZERO championships… he didn’t force the trade of one of the best players of all time… and unlike Kobe’s Lakers… the Celtics were the SECOND WORSE TEAM IN THE LEAGUE LAST YEAR!  Yet, Paul Pierce rededicated himself to defense… accepted two superstars with open arms and played the most unselfish ball of his career… and when it mattered most… he out-dueled LEBRON FRIGGIN JAMES in the biggest game of his life. 

So Mr. Smith… when if you went this ga-ga over Kobe Bryant’s “turnaround”… I can’t wait to see how insane you get when it comes time to recognize what Paul Pierce has done.  If you care to mention him at all.

Phil Jackson Is Full Of Crap
May 7, 2008

kobe bryant and phil jackson

“I don’t know anybody who’s ever deserved this trophy more. I don’t know anybody who’s ever worked as hard to accomplish what he’s accomplished.”

I think its sad that Kobe’s ego is so fragile, that Phil feels the need to say things like this.  Hey Phil… there’s a Mr. Jordan on line one for you.

Oh Yeah
April 16, 2008

Courtesy of Ajay (a Lakers fan here to antagonize us) in the comments:

sports illustrated cover

The Nicest Thing I Can Say About Kobe
March 11, 2008

kobe bryantAt 11:59 p.m. last night, I was strolling happily in my backyard with my new dog.  Everything was right with the world… even though I was standing in the dark and cold with an animal that was too nervous to figure out that the whole song and dance was in an effort to make her poop.  ‘No matter,’ I thought.  I’m happy to do it for a new friend. 

Suddenly, the taste of bile appeared in the back of my mouth.  I’d felt it before, but this time it wasn’t tinged with remnants of Jager and whatever I pointed to on the Denny’s menu at 4am.  ‘How odd,’ I thought. 

The dog circled nervously as the taste spread.  My stomach started to cramp.  ‘Time to go inside.’

By the time we hit the door, I was sweating and nearly doubled over in pain.  Holding back dry heaves, I quickly tried to figure out what I did make me feel this way.  Then I saw the clock.  12:04.  It was March 11th.  The day I have to say nice things about Kobe Bean Bryant.

I can’t call him a douchebag.  I can’t call him a me-first malcontent who, instead of waiting to see how young talent would develop around him, decided to go on a schizophrenic “trade me, don’t trade me” public display. 

3 cases of Pepto later, I think I’m ready.

The best thing I can say about Kobe Bryant is:  I hate him. 

No really, that’s a compliment.

Most people who have played sports will tell you… they enjoy being booed on the road.  To paraphrase Curt Schilling… there’s something very satisfying about shutting thousands of people up.  When the other team’s fans target you specifically… they’re not doing it because you’re an OK player.  You’ve got to have some skills to draw the vitriol of 17,000 strangers.  To be targeted specifically, you have to have done memorable things to the opposing team. 

Opposing fans don’t remember 5 points and 3 rebounds.  But they remember 42, 10 and 10… including a dunk on your whole front line and the game winning fadeaway 3.   

The best thing about being hated by the opposition is… they’re going to hate you no matter what.  If go into the opponent’s gym and lose, it’s “hah!… you suck!”  If you go in and win… it’s “F-You… you suck!”

Look… the world needs villains.  No one plays cops and cops.  Without villains, there is no Superman.  Batman doesn’t really become Batman if his parents aren’t killed.  Hulk Hogan doesn’t become Hulk Hogan without the Iron Sheik walking around with an Iranian Flag saying “America… ptew!”  The same is true of the NBA.  It needs the bad guy that occasionally wins.  And yes, that means championships too. 

I’m not going to get all sing-songy about Kobe’s skills.  Everyone knows that on basketball talent alone, he’s in a rare class.  If the Hall of Fame had a Hall of Fame… he’d be on the ballot.  But that’s not what this is about.  This is supposed to be about praising Kobe.  And the nicest thing I can say about Kobe is this:

I really hate that guy. 

Steve Blake Is My Hero
March 7, 2008

Stellar defense on Kobe.  I encourage this trend to continue

blake chokes kobe