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View Full Version : Kobe’s Lakers into Finals – your turn, LeBron



kblo247
05-31-2009, 08:47 PM
By Johnny Ludden, Yahoo! Sports May 30, 3:51 am EDT

DENVER – For one quarter, nearly two, Kobe Bryant(notes) waited. He drew the defense away from his teammates, he watched their confidence build and, still, the Denver Nuggets clung to the Los Angeles Lakers. No, this wasn’t good enough. The NBA Finals were too close, too fragile an opportunity, to leave this night to chance, and Bryant knew it.

As the final few minutes of the first half started to tick away, he stepped into a short jump shot. A 22-footer over Carmelo Anthony(notes) followed. Anthony pressed closer the next time down the floor, but Bryant rose higher still, burying yet another dagger.

Before the Nuggets could look up, Bryant had the ball back in his hands, launching a 3-pointer from the right corner that slipped through the net just as easily as the three shots before it. Denver coach George Karl later joked that during those three minutes even “Jesus would have had trouble” covering Bryant and, some 2,200 miles away in a Florida hotel room, another basketball god was likely watching.

LeBron James(notes)?

Your turn.

Nike can relax. At least one puppet won’t be spending next week sitting on the couch, or fishing, or whatever it is that puppets do once they’re on puppet vacation. Kobe is headed back to the Finals after delivering 35 points and 10 assists in a command performance that allowed the Lakers to close out the Nuggets in six games with a 119-92 rout.

Whether LeBron joins Kobe there doesn’t matter as much as the fact that Bryant once again will be playing for a championship. For Kobe, this is where the debate begins and ends. LeBron can put on a performance for the ages, as he’s done against the Orlando Magic, but in Kobe’s world, he’s chasing only Michael Jordan’s six titles. If he gets the opportunity to go through LeBron for No. 4, so be it.

One of those Nike commercials has Kobe taunting LeBron with his three championship rings. The genius of the ad is that this is truly how Kobe measures greatness.

“He wants to be the best player to ever have played this game,” Lakers guard Derek Fisher(notes) said. “That’s what he works at every day. He feels like however many more years he plays in this league, winning championships is the thing that separates guys within that discussion. When you talk about the best ever, there are three or four guys who always come up because their teams won championships. That’s his No. 1 concern.

“I don’t think what other guys are doing is his priority to respond to it, but I do know he looks, observes, takes in anything that will motivate him to want to continue to be the best player out there, regardless of who’s playing.”

Kobe knows what LeBron has done in these playoffs. He knows that Jerry West said LeBron has surpassed him as the best all-around player. He knows about all those 40-point nights. And anyone who knows Kobe understands this has only stoked his fire.

But for Kobe to continue to chase M.J., for him to keep LeBron at bay, he first had to reach the Finals. This will be his sixth trip, and he has yet to win a title since 2002. That’s seven long years. The three lost seasons after the Lakers removed Shaq from his side made him only that much hungrier.

After the Lakers were embarrassed by the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of last season’s Finals, Bryant stewed in a room just opposite from where Kevin Garnett(notes) and Paul Pierce(notes) celebrated. The Lakers’ locker room emptied, their bus idled in the loading dock, and still Bryant stayed. Such opportunities are hard to come by. Bryant knew making it back wouldn’t be easy.

Nor has it been. The Houston Rockets pushed the Lakers to seven games, the Nuggets took them to six. Both series were considerably more physical than anything the Lakers faced on their road to last season’s Finals. Along the way, they also lost their sense of entitlement.

“Those are things that make you tougher,” Bryant said.

Too many of the Lakers were too young or too inexperienced to give Bryant the help he needed in last season’s Finals. Some of them were still too cocky when these playoffs began. So as Bryant began to take control of Friday’s game, Fisher was there to remind his younger teammates to not let the moment pass them by. Seize the opportunity, he told them. Don’t wait.

“We’ve all been through a lot individually, collectively,” Fisher said. “Now’s our time to finish what we didn’t finish last season.”

For all of the brilliant moves Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak made to assemble this roster, bringing Fisher back still ranks among the best. Fisher’s shot has deserted him for stretches in these playoffs. Nor can he stay in front of the league’s quicker guards. But he’s still the only Laker who truly understands what makes Kobe tick, who knows when the offense has shifted too far toward No. 24.

The Lakers had the Nuggets beat once they realized they needed to feed off Bryant’s greatness instead of waiting for it to rescue them. After the Game 4 loss, Bryant began to facilitate the Lakers’ offense rather than carry it. For all of the talk about LeBron accounting for 32 consecutive points, either by his own shot or an assist, in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Game 5 victory on Thursday, Bryant was nearly as remarkable one night later. When the Lakers pulled away in the second quarter, he had a hand in 21 of their final 23 points.

“Once he is clicking on all cylinders, no one is going to beat him,” Nuggets guard J.R. Smith(notes) said.

While Bryant admitted to being fatigued in this series, he has also seemed to only get stronger as these playoffs have gone along. He averaged 34 points in the series, identical to what he averaged during last season’s conference finals and second in his career only to the 35 points he averaged in the 2000 West semifinals.

In truth, though, it might be the Lakers who have gotten better around Bryant.

“He’s had some great individual performances, but it was overshadowed by the lack of efficiency and things just kind of looking out of place,” Fisher said. “Guys individually not shooting well, not playing well. So there was more talk about … Kobe having to do too much, as opposed to Kobe’s just playing really good.

“So, now, I think with our team playing really well around him, it’s making the same thing he was doing before just look a lot better. Just different packaging.”

The Lakers figure to benefit only that much more from the five days off before the start of the Finals. They only had a day to prepare for the Nuggets and they survived. Their reward now is a chance to rest.

“I saw little cracks in the Lakers and somehow we’ve cemented those cracks back up,” Karl said. “I think they’re the best team right now in the NBA.”

That can change, but the Lakers know this much: They’re back in the Finals. Kobe will get another crack at his fourth title and, in his mind, a chance to settle one other growing challenge.

Best player?

Your turn, LeBron.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AjGxIbAax7NZ8zOwdHbc5Qe8vLYF?slug=jy-lakersnuggets053009&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Do you agree, or disagree with the writers take on the fact that Lebron and Kobe measure there success in two different ways?

Blah Blah Blah
05-31-2009, 08:57 PM
I agree with that. Kobe has fed off of the hype surrounding Lebron despite knowing that Lebron has never been a champion or anything yet. Kobe is the best player in the game today and when he wins the finals, more people will see that now. Kobe does not care about stats and all those ridiculous numbers that Lebron would put up, he just wants the championship and that's it. Soon it will be Kobe 4 Lebron 0.

mikantsass
05-31-2009, 09:00 PM
I agree with that. Kobe has fed off of the hype surrounding Lebron despite knowing that Lebron has never been a champion or anything yet. Kobe is the best player in the game today and when he wins the finals, more people will see that now. Kobe does not care about stats and all those ridiculous numbers that Lebron would put up, he just wants the championship and that's it. Soon it will be Kobe 4 Lebron 0.


I think you mean Shaq 3, Kobe 1, LeBron 0.......

What if you put LeBron on that Lakers team and Kobe on that Cavs team? Things would be a little different....

LAKERMANIA
05-31-2009, 09:03 PM
I think you mean Shaq 3, Kobe 1, LeBron 0.......

What if you put LeBron on that Lakers team and Kobe on that Cavs team? Things would be a little different....

Kobe was part of the 2000-2002 championship run. Yes, Shaq was the first option, but that doesn't matter, a ring is a ring, and Kobe has 3, not 0 or 1.

RaiderLakersA's
05-31-2009, 09:04 PM
Oh snap!!! I think I just found me a new phrase: TNT's says, "Gone fishin'." I'm going to use "PUPPET VACATION."

Example:

Joe: Hey, dude, where's the boss?
Me: I dunno. He's never around. Maybe he's on PUPPET VACATION.

snickers
05-31-2009, 09:14 PM
http://i42.tinypic.com/33kq39y.jpg

madiaz3
05-31-2009, 09:17 PM
I think you mean Shaq 3, Kobe 1, LeBron 0.......

What if you put LeBron on that Lakers team and Kobe on that Cavs team? Things would be a little different....

I forgot how huge the difference was between 29.5ppg and 28.5ppg in a playoff run. Because that's about the most the two were separating in scoring during their 3 peat run. No one was carried, maybe Shaq was walking a quarter of a step ahead, but that was his prime and Kobe was still getting better.

tr4shb0t
05-31-2009, 09:19 PM
Lebron is too concerned about how he looks and how many points he scores. He doesn't always do the right things to get the win, and I don't know if he sees it himself or not.

sciferguy
05-31-2009, 09:31 PM
I thought this hype was really going to hurt lebron and it did. He got caught up in it. Thinking he was the best and thinking that he can win games by himself for self glory instead of playing as a team like they did all season really hurt him.

It hurts kobe every once in a long while now and he still gets caught up in showing up certain players every now and then and at times it hurts his team. But the lakers are at their best when they play like a team in this past game 6.

Lebron has a lot to learn. He needs to be stripped of his king title and needs to be titles Jester for now.

Mane
05-31-2009, 09:31 PM
ohhh myyyyyy ggggggoooooodd nooo morrrrrreee thrrrrrrrreaaaads mentioning lebron...

PLEEEEEEEEEASE.

kblo247
05-31-2009, 09:43 PM
ohhh myyyyyy ggggggoooooodd nooo morrrrrreee thrrrrrrrreaaaads mentioning lebron...

PLEEEEEEEEEASE.


He is the King,

The Chosen One,

And We All Have To Be His Witnesses

Mane
05-31-2009, 09:44 PM
He is the King,

The Chosen One,

And We All Have To Be His Witnesses

I guess hes the king of being overrated :shrug:

Not much else.

_KB24_
05-31-2009, 09:47 PM
I think you mean Shaq 3, Kobe 1, LeBron 0.......

What if you put LeBron on that Lakers team and Kobe on that Cavs team? Things would be a little different....

Your really arrogant for a nobody. Lebron got his *** sweeped in the Finals by the Spurs. Atleast Kobe would have gave some competition. Who was the go to man in the Olympics? Kobe. Lebron has not produced whenever he has been put up in the spotlight. He's lost in the Olympics, the Finals, and This years conference finals. Lebron is an AMAZING player but dont talk **** about Kobe.

Twinsfan24
05-31-2009, 10:02 PM
Kobe has never done **** by himself lets see Shaq, now gasol and fisher and bynum and ariza. Lets see what Kobe does with no one like lebron. KOBE doesnt even know what the word assist is and on top of that he is the worst example of an athlete all he does is ***** and moan everytime he gets touched. Enough of Kobe being the greatest crap. Im not even a Lebron fan. I cant take everyone talking Kobe up I have never been impressed with a ball hog that whines every play and I never will......

lakers4sho
05-31-2009, 10:05 PM
Kobe has never done **** by himself lets see Shaq, now gasol and fisher and bynum and ariza. Lets see what Kobe does with no one like lebron. KOBE doesnt even know what the word assist is and on top of that he is the worst example of an athlete all he does is ***** and moan everytime he gets touched. Enough of Kobe being the greatest crap. Im not even a Lebron fan. I cant take everyone talking Kobe up I have never been impressed with a ball hog that whines every play and I never will......

Jordan has never done jack **** without Pippen

Kareem has never done jack **** without Magic, and vice versa

Shaq has never done jack **** without Kobe, Wade, and Penny

I can just go on and on...

kblo247
05-31-2009, 10:08 PM
Kobe has never done **** by himself lets see Shaq, now gasol and fisher and bynum and ariza. Lets see what Kobe does with no one like lebron. KOBE doesnt even know what the word assist is and on top of that he is the worst example of an athlete all he does is ***** and moan everytime he gets touched. Enough of Kobe being the greatest crap. Im not even a Lebron fan. I cant take everyone talking Kobe up I have never been impressed with a ball hog that whines every play and I never will......

You mean like James crying after every no call :confused:

Newsflash, you don't win 66 games by having no one to play with.

All star players in Hughes and Illgauskas don't all become role players over night, but they did the second that they were teamed with him.

Role players like Marshall, Jones, Snow, and others all suddenly downgraded their play as well while playing with lebron, but that must have been a coincidence as well right?

Kenny
05-31-2009, 10:09 PM
You mean like James crying after every no call :confused:

Newsflash, you don't win 66 games by having no one to play with.

All star players in Hughes and Illgauskas don't all become role players over night, but they did the second that they were teamed with him.

Role players like Marshall, Jones, Snow, and others all suddenly downgraded their play as well while playing with lebron, but that must have been a coincidence as well right?

lmao, larry ****en hughes your talking about.. BIG z bene playing at the same level forever..

Take lebron off this team and there a 25-30 wins max team..

Bruno
05-31-2009, 10:11 PM
I think you mean Shaq 3, Kobe 1, LeBron 0.......

What if you put LeBron on that Lakers team and Kobe on that Cavs team? Things would be a little different....

Over a 16 game span in the 2000-2001 playoffs Kobe AVERAGED 29.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.1 apg, 1.5 spg, on 47% FG shooting. Has any "second option" ever put up better numbers? Kobe took over a handful of those games late; he'll never the the respect he deserves for the three-peat.


http://www.nba.com/playerfile/kobe_bryant/career_stats.html

_KB24_
05-31-2009, 10:25 PM
Kobe has never done **** by himself lets see Shaq, now gasol and fisher and bynum and ariza. Lets see what Kobe does with no one like lebron. KOBE doesnt even know what the word assist is and on top of that he is the worst example of an athlete all he does is ***** and moan everytime he gets touched. Enough of Kobe being the greatest crap. Im not even a Lebron fan. I cant take everyone talking Kobe up I have never been impressed with a ball hog that whines every play and I never will......

Yeah you honestly dont know ****. Your saying Lebron has nobody?? How about an allstar, a former DPOY and three former all stars ( Wally, Wallace, Z). Not to mention a bunch of deadly 3 point shooters ( Sasha, West, Gibson, Wally, Mo). Are you SERIOUS? ASSIST? How about dishing out 10 assists in a series clinching game on the road?? MOANING??? AHAHA Are you kidding me?? Atleast Kobe has the balls to accept defeat and not run away like Lebron like a little *****. Lebron is probaly of the best actors in the NBA and it seems hes getting "killed" when he gets brushed by Anthony Johnson? Alston? Lee? Get out of here, your just a hater.

junion
05-31-2009, 10:31 PM
lebron got the mvp, and won 66 games with his team - he deserved it because he really made his team better, and he played team ball. he was 'the best team player' all year, while kobe was the guy 'i would want taking the last shot'.

the cavs lose, and all of a sudden the 'make your teammates better' argument goes out the door, and it becomes - 'he doesn't have enough good players around him'.

Twinsfan24
05-31-2009, 10:50 PM
Yeah you honestly dont know ****. Your saying Lebron has nobody?? How about an allstar, a former DPOY and three former all stars ( Wally, Wallace, Z). Not to mention a bunch of deadly 3 point shooters ( Sasha, West, Gibson, Wally, Mo). Are you SERIOUS? ASSIST? How about dishing out 10 assists in a series clinching game on the road?? MOANING??? AHAHA Are you kidding me?? Atleast Kobe has the balls to accept defeat and not run away like Lebron like a little *****. Lebron is probaly of the best actors in the NBA and it seems hes getting "killed" when he gets brushed by Anthony Johnson? Alston? Lee? Get out of here, your just a hater.

Just like your a hater on Lebron so I guess there is no winning. You really think that gibson and wally and mo are better than who the lakers have thats funny.....Big ******* deal he didnt skake their hands so what. Get over it if thats all you got. Lebron is only 24 and will be a million times better than kobe. All you laker fans are bandwagon jumpers anyways I could care less about what any of you say.

kblo247
05-31-2009, 11:15 PM
Just like your a hater on Lebron so I guess there is no winning. You really think that gibson and wally and mo are better than who the lakers have thats funny.....Big ******* deal he didnt skake their hands so what. Get over it if thats all you got. Lebron is only 24 and will be a million times better than kobe. All you laker fans are bandwagon jumpers anyways I could care less about what any of you say.

People were talking that same BS about Penny and Grant when it came to MJ, and they said the same about Vince, Tracy, and AI in comparison to Kobe