- Damn it feels good to have Kobe Bean Bryant. Did anyone not have that overwhelming emotion of Damn, did I just see that? For those of us who play ball often, seeing Kobe do the magic he did yesterday was nothing short of transcendent. We don't get this, we don't even deserve this as simple basketball fans. Games like last nights show how far ahead, how above and beyond, how special and damned talented that Kobe is. Did anyone not watch the first half and think Kobe's doing this on purpose, and, in the second half, this is going to change. Well, thinking that is no big deal, and seeing it is no big deal, but seeing it happen against the Boston Celtics is what makes his performance something special. Lebron hit God-move against Orlando in Orlando last week, and was damn impressive, but it was Orlando. Hell, the Lakers didn't even get much credit for winning the Finals against Orlando, so you know I'm not willing to give the nod to Lebron on this one. Additionally, the physical stature of Lebron is overwhelmingly imposing, and he unleashes dunk after dunk, overpowering move after overpowering move, to bully his way into high point totals (ALWAYS, additionally, accompanied by high free throw attempt totals). Kobe's too damn old to do any bullying. He goes to work with that low % mid range shot, and damn if it doesn't go down. Anyhow, I love Lebrons game. I love Kobes. Damnit, Kobe, you're an old man, and you still put on performances like the one last night.
- For reference... Boston media even respects Kobe's sort of venom: http://audio.weei.com/a/36989125/the-lakers-ruin-ray-allen-s-record-setting-night.htm (I warn you, don't listen too long, or you'll get to where the excuses start being made!)
- Post presence: It was there. There was a poll asking what the most important factor in the game would be, and that's what I clicked. I was wrong (Kobe in the 2nd half), but I'd like to say I was right (LA won the Rebounding battle 47-36)
- A large contributor to this win goes to the ol' zebras on the sideline. Notice anything in the first half? A lot of whistles for the Green, a lot of whistles against the Purple and Gold? The throng of visitors and I that watched the game at my place did also (even mix of LA and Boston fans). That first half lead was built on the back of slaps and steals made without calls against LA's bigs (and poor defensive execution for the Lakers) and several, several, questionable calls against LA. Notably, calls for fouls on Lakers that were simply trying to maneuver the 12 moving screens Ray Allen had set for him every play, and Garnett and Perkins heady, physical, moving screen setting plays on the interior where they work to get Rondo an open lay up or Garnett an easy mid range pull up.
- Rondo went C.A.M. in the second half. You've heard H.A.M. by Jay-Z and Kanye, surely... well, replace hard with cold. In the first half, Rondo hit some an outside jumpers, according to ESPN's shot chart, and then went inside with two <3 ft shots made. After that, he would wait until 6 minutes in the 4th quarter was left to score again (scoring once more with 3 minutes remaining, on a jumper Kobe was happy to concede). Kobe's defense was excellent last night, and Kobe is capable of playing this way every night, except that he's sometimes lazy and he's old and slow according to Charles Barkley. Although we won't hear ESPN singing Kobe's praises for truly containing Rondo last night, atleast we can ask Doc Rivers for his opinion, because he's a better coach than Phil Jackson
He also knew that we had foul problems on the floor, and he was aggressive," Rivers said. "Listen, Kobe didn’t win the game with his offense. Kobe won the game today with his defense. I thought defensively, he was absolutely phenomenal. He was everywhere.He was trapping; he was helping off (Rajon) Rondo all night. Trapped the post, blocked shots. I mean, he just had a great floor game to me — more than just scoring.
courtesy http://lakers.ocregister.com/2011/02/10/doc-rivers-explains-how-kobe-won-the-game/48824/ here's ESPN's shot chart (http://espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=310210002)
- While Ron's defense was effective on Paul, Mr. Pierce sat out practice yesterday with flu-like symptoms. I'd love to give Ron all the credit in the world, but I'm wary that it may have a little to do with Paul being under the weather.
- As for Boston's excuses about not having players to put in because of injury I bring to you a humble Celtics fans opinion:
Gasol 37 min – KG 34. Artest 39 min – Pierce 40. Bynum 34 min – Perk 31. Kobe 38 min – Ray 35. Fisher 31 min – Rondo 44. Other than Rondo who is by far the youngest and most energetic Celtic regular, the minutes were amazingly close for both teams starting 5. The C’s and Lakers both only had 7 players playing big minutes so this game was much more evenly matched that it may have seemed at the outset despite the C’s injuries and foul trouble. Odom/Brown are comparable to Baby/Wafer off the bench so the only real difference was Blake playing 12 minutes while Nate got banged up and only played 4.
- Ray Allen hit two three pointers but nobody seemed to care.
- Coincidentally, while watching the TNT broadcast, how on earth would one not have thought the Lakers were being sandblasted the entire night while the Celtics executed basketball with teamwork and no "hero ball." It's quite obvious there's quite a bit of dislike for the Lakers up in the broadcast booth, and when the Lakers went on their run in the third quarter, the broadcast group, even then, was unwilling to note a change in momentum. It is becoming quite funny, these TNT broadcasts. I'm looking at you, Reggie Miller.
- Big win for LA last night. We all knew how big the game was, whether or not we were willing to admit it. With this win, we are officially better than championship contenders. Barring serious injury, we are now the favorites to come out of the West and, more than likely favorites to bring home the O'Brien. Why? Never for a moment did either of these teams not bring their A game, and they knew, as much as we did, that this last meeting between the two would ring in each of their ears the rest of the season and the entire post-season.
- Gasol still had a little White Swan in him, deferring to teammates after getting position in the block, flailing after light contact (that block by Von Wafer was clean as Nate and Kobe's haircut last night, but Gasol flailed and writhed like a freshly shot pigeon), and settled for a few too many jumpers, but he got enough rebounds to make me make a happy face, so it's all good in my book.
- Lamar has unquestionable hustle. This guy is 6th man of the year. He is the reason I'm ok with being #teammelo. Lamar is our glue guy. Notice a change in Lamar this year? He's calling for the ball in clutch situations (On Kobe's ice-the-game mid range jumper, did anyone else notice Lamar at the top of the key yelling for the ball yet again [third game in a row he's done that!]), driving harder at the goal, blocking more shots, getting fouled more often, taking shots in a more confident manner; I'm all smiles watching him play. I'm getting some of that unisex stuff. Yea... well, maybe. Plus, he out Garnetted Garnett in the "get inadvertently knashed by Gasol's tooth" competition. Pssssshhhh... catching elbows are for babies, teeth are where the real pain is at, just ask David Lee.
- Via Kevin Ding
More tribute to Ray Allen during this last timeout. Whatever Kobe says publicly now, don't believe for a second he likes Ray
- It all comes back to Kobe. With this win he is firmly back in first place, in my mind, in MVP voting for the season. Will he get it? Most likely not. But, fact remains, this guy is leading his team, dealing with vindictive media, answering tough questions, disciplining teammates, closing games, and keeping his team in the championship race. There's no question for me, but the "brilliant media" does not watch the same basketball that I do, apparently.