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  1. #1
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    Q on Kobe in the 01 Playoffs (wtf?)

    Lakers sweep the West, complete the most dominant title defense in Playoff History....

    When you look at Lakers playoffs runs throughout the 2K Era, 2001 sticks out like a sore thumb and when you look at the roster, 1 player really stands out. Kobe


    2001 Playoffs: 29.4PPG - 7.3Reb - 6.1Ast
    Usage: 30.3 (1.16 Pts Per Possession) 25.0PER

    Thats high level production with elite efficiency, specifically given the defensive era/competition. And as good as those numbers were, they dont illustrate just how utterly dominant Kobe was individually in the Western Conference:

    After 3 collective sweeps; VS Trailblazers (9th Ranked Defense), VS Kings (7th Ranked Defense), VS Spurs (1st Ranked Defense)
    Kobe put up:

    VS The West: 31.6PPG - 7.0Reb - 6.2Ast
    Usage: 31.8 (1.21 Pts Per Possession)

    I dont know if Philly was better equipped to defend Kobe or if he was simply cooling down but no matter how you look at Kobe's run, there remains 2 questions left unanswered....


    Where the **** did that come from and why did we never see that again?


    Well I should clarify, its not so much that we didn't see that kind of dominance from him again, we did, but it came well later in his career, the phase of Kobe's career where most would consider his prime/peak. Those high scoring days along with his back to back chip runs. Individually, Kobe's greatest playoff run was in 09 at age 30, but isnt that somewhat expected? In his youth, Kobe has put up higher scoring averages, but he didn't combine the efficiency, rebounding, playmaking quite like he did in 01.


    In the 6 seasons after that brilliant run, Kobes playoff averages look like so;

    2002-2007 Playoffs: 27.5PPG - 5.3Reb - 5.0Ast
    Usage: 30.8 (1.06 Pts Per Possession) 21.2 PER

    Now those are still quality numbers, but they dont come close to historic and far from what Kobe put up in the following 3 years:

    2008-2010 Playoffs: 29.8PPG - 5.7Reb - 5.5Ast
    Usage: 33.0 (1.15 Pts Per Possession) 25.5 PER


    Which brings us back to the initial question Where the **** did that blip come from?
    From 97 till about 2003, Shaq's playoff production remained fairly constant, no doubt he had his best years during the 3-peat but there was no night and day level of efficiency. It seemed the difference between dismantling the entire league and simply competing (and winning) chips was the difference between Kobe playing at a normal superstar level or a high end level. Sounds obvious, the Shaqobe domination had no remorse for human life that year, but what made 2001 special?
    Last edited by Chronz; 10-12-2013 at 03:21 PM.
    Yo Kobe, get at me bro, we'd have a good time, man

  2. #2
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    From what I understood, Kobe would be who they leaned on up to the finals, then Shaq would be who they leaned on during the finals. The east didn't have any good bigs so Shaq would be able to dominate.

    Sacramento had floppy divac, and pollard who guarded Shaq pretty well. Vlade wass pretty effective in drawing fouls and Pollard was really active.

    Blazers had Rasheed wallace and Sabonis, Sabonis was big and could play physical with Shaq, Rasheed was better but a little smaller. I believe they had Davis as well, and brian grant.

    Spurs of course had Duncan and some other bigs that I can't remember now. I don't think they had d-rob then.

    The advantage the lakers had then was kobe. The way that the Lakers would deal with bowen on the spurs was they would run him off screens. Bowen was really effective at disrupting a players movement and denying them the ball. Phil Jackson called him Edward Scissorhands, for how effective he was at handchecking (which some say doesn't exist).

    I think they used that strategy throughout the playoffs.

    In the later years Shaq's health and fitness began to deteriorate and he wasn't setting screens as much and pretty much just camping under the basket. So they left that to the power forwards, who were largely ignored, and then of course there was that playoff series where Horace Grant and Karl Malone were injured.
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  3. #3
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    Funny you mention Bowen because the Spurs didn't have him in 01. They picked him up after that year, prolly realizing they needed someone who could contain Kobe and while they still lost the following year, it was much more competitive and Kobe was not nearly as productive against them. Perhaps laying the foundation for what it would take to win.

    I was wondering if it was moves like that which impacted Kobe's success against playoff foes, but that would only explain away the series vs the Spurs, he faced the exact same western opponents in 2002 that he did in 01, against all 3 he declined and the series were closer. The Kings did improve defensively but it wasn't statistically significant either. Blazers declined but the Lakers swept fwiw.

    Im not sure how your explanation ties into why Kobe performed so differently in the years after 01.
    Yo Kobe, get at me bro, we'd have a good time, man

  4. #4
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    he was more efficient because he wasn't that active from behind the arch. he was arguably in his athletic peak and spent a lot more time attacking the basket than spreading the floor.

    in the 2010 post-season he shot almost six threes per game. in 2001 he was around two threes per game. his three point shooting has been my main criticism of him for years, he shoots too many.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruno87 View Post
    he was more efficient because he wasn't that active from behind the arch. he was arguably in his athletic peak and spent a lot more time attacking the basket than spreading the floor.

    in the 2010 post-season he shot almost six threes per game. in 2001 he was around two threes per game. his three point shooting has been my main criticism of him for years, he shoots too many.
    A solid assessment.

  6. #6
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    Not sure what the answer is, but I can give a breakdown on my opinion for ever year he didn't perform at a super-elite pace...

    2002 - Most likely due to chemistry problems with Shaq beginning to manifest. With Kobe's ever growing talent and Shaq still wanting to be the man, it was only a matter of time before it wasn't going to work anymore. The feud was starting up.

    2003 - Even more chemistry issues with Shaq. This was the year of the infamous "big-toe" operation and Kobe had called out Shaq publicly for being lazy. Not enough time in the regular season to develop their chemistry and make another deep run. That and Horry appeared to be an old man over night and it was the beginning of the end for Fox. Still, Kobe had a good run this year from an individual stand point.

    On a side note, I would also like to mention the fact that George (who was starting to show a lot of promise) was "mysteriously" injured at the hands of Manu Ginobili during the WCS. Ginobili was also "mysteriously" involved in an injury that sidelined Dirk in the WCF. Just thought I would mention that because I really felt like we had a good chance at beating San Antonio that year had the injury to George never occurred. The calls were also very one sided... Particularly in game 5 and especially at the end of game 5.

    2004 - Even more chemistry issues with Shaq... (In fact, they were at their peak.) The addition of Malone and Payton brought down his individual stats.

    2006 - Kobe gave up in game 7 against Phoenix. Brought his numbers down significantly.

    2007 - Kobe was actually very good this year. Though only played in 5 games. Easily the best numbers of all the previous years since 2001.
    Last edited by amos1er; 10-12-2013 at 06:06 PM.

  7. #7
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    Bruno nailed it. He was attacking the rim a lot more. Shaq was dominant until the end of games due to his poor FT shooting so Kobe wasn't getting all the attention. The Lakers had three players that could spread the floor in Horry, Fisher and Fox. The West had more bigs that could slow down Shaq, but slowing down Shaq was still the main focus of opposing teams.

    In the finals Shaq just abused East coast bigs. All the best big men were in the West.

    Edit: Also if I remember right the Lakers had some mid season struggles, but went into the playoffs on a roll. They were hot at the right time.
    Last edited by Kevj77; 10-13-2013 at 12:39 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevj77 View Post
    Bruno nailed it. He was attacking the rim a lot more. Shaq was dominant until the end of games due to his poor FT shooting so Kobe wasn't getting all the attention. The Lakers had three players that could spread the floor in Horry, Fisher and Fox. The West had more bigs that could slow down Shaq, but slowing down Shaq was still the main focus of opposing teams.

    In the finals Shaq just abused East coast bigs. All the best big men were in the West.

    Edit: Also if I remember right the Lakers had some mid season struggles, but went into the playoffs on a roll. They were hot at the right time.
    lets be honest here, Shaq faced 2 really good centers in the finals in Rik Smits, & Mutombo. Mutombo was DPOTY in 2001, & Shaq made him look silly, that's no easy thing to do(possibly the best defensive center ever), only Shaq could have pulled that off. only the 2002 Nets had weak centers
    Last edited by hidalgo; 10-15-2013 at 04:43 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chronz View Post
    Funny you mention Bowen because the Spurs didn't have him in 01. They picked him up after that year, prolly realizing they needed someone who could contain Kobe and while they still lost the following year, it was much more competitive and Kobe was not nearly as productive against them. Perhaps laying the foundation for what it would take to win.

    I was wondering if it was moves like that which impacted Kobe's success against playoff foes, but that would only explain away the series vs the Spurs, he faced the exact same western opponents in 2002 that he did in 01, against all 3 he declined and the series were closer. The Kings did improve defensively but it wasn't statistically significant either. Blazers declined but the Lakers swept fwiw.

    Im not sure how your explanation ties into why Kobe performed so differently in the years after 01.

    Not saying this completely explains the drop off but the Kings acquiring Bibby and the Spurs Bowen should be acknowledged here.

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  10. #10
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    Let's be honest, Kobe wasn't the #1 priority for the Lakers opposing teams. Shaq was still far and away the best and most dominating player. Their defense was entirely built on stopping Shaq, not Kobe. Foolish, because you can stop Kobe but not Shaq.

  11. #11
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    The growing Kobe/ Shaq feud had a lot to do with it. That monster run was a gift and a curse for Kobe. Fed into the idea that maybe Kobe should be "the man." From that point on it was just a increasing power struggle.

    I remember that run though. Really had Shaq not been so invincible against Mutumbo Kobe was on pace for a finals MVP....

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    why the **** is this a thread
    go home raptors, you're drunk

  13. #13
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    There's a reason he's considered one of the 5 greatests to ever do it.

  14. #14
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    01 - He was completely healthy and Fisher spaced the floor like no other for both him and Shaq. Check the 01 game logs vs the Spurs, Fisher hit what 70% of his threes? There was no double teaming them without fisher making you pay a price. Derek deserves a lot of credit for that run of sweeps. And fisher could chase PGs as his foot injury was the next year where he was slowed down and you saw stuff like Bibby.

    02 - lot of factors to into it but one is the team lost depth again so there was more heavy lifting all year by Kobe since they lost Harper, Horace, and Lue without really replacing their production outside George playing for a deal. The Sac series is so mail easing, they poisoned the ****ing guy in the WCF, poisoned his food and he had a set of bad games, but he also dominated when they needed to win.

    03 - Shaq healed on company time, truly damning them that year. Kobe had a great season, but the team lacked even moe depth and ran out of gas just look at Fox, Horry, and Shaw. Kobe played on a knee that needed surgery (just like wade, but better) and tore his labrum dunking on KG and Rasho. Marks the end of his not being cut open period of his career as he would go on to have 3 knee surgeries, shoulder surgery, ankle surgery, hurt his hands, and 2 regenokine treatments (he simply got banged up)

    04 - injuries, Colorado, feuding with Shaq, etc but he still has the best western playoffs of the 4 hall of famers.

    06 - damned if he does or didnt, but that game 6 was every bit of a showing as any great can ask for

    07 - eh, he and odom vs a team people picked to win a title

    08 - his western playoff numbers are impressive, he just was slowed by Boston, but if you look at the series, he still had the best series of any of the players, just the boston big 3 took away Pau and Lamar and most of all made Radmanovic useless after he had spaced the floor so well the fist 3 rounds.

    09 - western numbers are great, finals numbers only done by west and MJ at the time.

    10 - he came off fiba, finals run, title, Olympics, and defended the title. He did all that on a knee that made Wades injury look like a tweak since he had his knee drained 4 x those playoffs. Look at his closeout numbers, people talk about Paus put back versus OKC but Pau no showed 47mins of that game. Look at his Utah series. Look at the closeout of Phoenix where Pau didnt show up and Kobe dominated them. Kobe's averages in the whole playoffs finals included are 1 of only 2 lakers whose numbers didnt slip on the road in any round, in fact they went up, the other being fisher. Versus Boston, people talk about Pau but he didnt show in Boston, LA would've won that series before 7 if they got Paus averages on the road.

    Kobe's western playoff averages are pretty damn good every year of his career. Even with Shaq, check out who carried the road load, it wasnt Shaq, and it damn sure wasnt ever Pau in any year of his career since 2000. Even the game 7 vs Portland in 2000 saw Kobe thoroughly outclass Shaq with their backs on the wall.

    Just injuries and finals make people scratch their head and question his stats. No one should ever question what Kobe did the west during the 3 peat or the run with Pau, just ask Pop who called him the best player in the world and on the court after the 01, 02, 04, and 08 series.

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