Commentary, news, analysis and reader-driven discussions focusing on this year's NBA playoffs.
Swish. Swish. Swish.
Bryant put on one of those shows only he can provide during the first half of Sunday's Game 1 showdown with the Suns. The Lakers star pumped in 28 points on a sizzling 11-of-17 shooting to stake his team to a 48-39 lead.
Basically, the Suns and Bell (Phoenix's designated Kobe Stopper) were helpless to do anything.
Except, of course, wait.
Wait for Bryant to start missing. Wait for him to try to shoot his way back. Wait for his teammates to lose rhythm.
Sure enough, Kobe went cold. And the Lakers collapsed. Phoenix outscored L.A. 21-10 in the fourth quarter to escape with a 95-87 victory and a 1-0 series lead.
While it's hard to blame Bryant for continuing to cast away when the rim must look as wide as the Pacific Ocean, he went too far in the fourth quarter. He should have realized that his radar had shut off after his first three or four missed shots. Instead he kept firing away, missing No. 5, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9 in succession before finally ending the drought with a scoop layup that cut the Suns' lead to 91-87.
It wasn't like Bryant was getting great looks either. Several were of high degree of difficulty. The Suns were sending waves of defenders at him, with 6-foot-7 Shawn Marion often in his face, and he was still jacking up shots.
Meanwhile the rest of the Lakers grew cold. They couldn't make a shot when they did touch the ball. And some, like Kwame Brown, appeared to be growing more interested in arguing with teammates on the court.
Bryant's confidence is admirable, but sometimes a man has to know the situation.
In Game 1 of a playoff series, it is more prudent to get teammates involved and feeling good about themselves. Even if it means a slow start for your team, you're going to be better off in the long run. You don't want them to start standing around and watching (and maybe grumbling).
Bryant is a great player, and a fierce competitor. He wants to win. He might even be able to beat the Suns himself in a game or two.
But not four times in this series.
Bryant should take the opposite tack of what he did in Game 1 over the rest of the series. He should resist the impulse to take those open jumpers –- as tempting as they might be -– and try to get his teammates involved instead.
If Lamar Odom –- and maybe even Brown -- can get some touches and some easy baskets early, the Lakers might soften up that Phoenix interior a little and be more in rhythm late in the game when the Suns throw a blanket on Kobe.
Then Bryant might even find it easier to put on one of his incredible shows when it really counts -- late in the game.
posted by SI.com | View comments |
Suns in 5. Lakers are not going to challenge the Suns like they did last year, but the X factor surprisingly is not Amare but Barbosa. If you belong to Suns Nation then you have to be thrilled the Mavs and Spurs both dropped their Game 1's...
Kobe is a great player, but lets get the point across, he is not Michael Jordan. ESPN NBA analyst Mark Jackson is crazy for saying that Kobe is better than MJ. I think he is a little biased because of MJ demolishing the Knicks in the playoffs. Anyways, Kobe might be a better shooter/scorer than MJ (we will never know because MJ controlled his scoring mentality to make his team mates better), but the thing that seperates them is that Jordan won games when it counted. Thats why he won 6 championships, 6 Final MVPs and 5 Regular Season MVPs. Until Kobe understands that making teammates better and turning on his game when he is needed the most wins championships, he won't win a one anytime soon (thats unless Kevin Garnett joins the Lakers). After all that, I just want to say that I hope TMAC and YAO win a championship. Those two deserve it and I still believe that Tracy has the potential to be better than Kobe. He is more versatile, more fluid in his game, and an all around better player (when it comes to rebounds, assists, making others around him better). I just see that Kobe has more of a determination to be the best and to win. TMAC, you are only 28 years old. You got many years to play at a very high level. Jordan was 36 when he won his last championship.
Kobe taking bad shots?!?! This is not news for anyone who has seen a Laker game since 1997. Just ask Shaq.
You cannot blame Kobe. The man wants to win. Al least the Lakers show that they can play with the Suns in this series
While I am not a Kobe fan at all, I have to respect his mentality. The path to the Lakers' success in this series (and in most games this current team plays) inevitably must be forged by Bryant. He knows this, and he willingly shoulders the burden. You have to respect him for it, considering there are plenty of other uber-talented stars who do not have the drive or the desire to personally will a team to victory (i.e. Tracy McGrady or Carmelo Anthony). Kobe had a bad second half, but his mentality cannot be faulted.
Problem is, that Laker offense was awful. Odom got it going for a while only to disappear in the fourth. Kobe made a few big passes to Brown who missed wide open layups and a dunk off of them. Luke Walton was aggressive in the third quarter but became passive in the fourth. PJ tried to give the team some momentum when he pulled Kobe out in the 4th, but they had none all night.
I'll go straight to my point. Kobe, Odom, and the rest of the team can beat the Phoenix Suns. sThe Suns are really not a good ballclub. They just happen to have guys like Steve Nash, Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudamire. Give Kobe some help, and I'm sure they'll have the same success which the Suns are enjoying as of this moment. Kobe must realized that he can't win all by himself. There's 48 minutes of Sweat drippin', bodies flyin', drama inside the court. Kobe must remember that he still has Odom, Walton, and the rest who are also willing to give everything they've got so that they could win. If Kobe thinks he has the hot hand, then let him shoot. But, if he misses 2 or 3 straight shots, give the ball to someone. Kobe's the best in this generation of basketball. What better way to prove it not just in scoring/points. And thanks to SI's very own Jack McCallum, 'cause you've just pissed Kobe and his team. And like Jordan, the more he's pissed off, the more harder he would be stop.
What do you expect from a one man team like LA? Kobe is in no win situation there. If he shoots a lot he will get this comment. If not then LA will be buried like last years Game 7.
Yep, basketball is a team sport, there's so much you can do alone. Ask Jordan on how to do it with the help of Rodman and Pippen.
When you pass the ball to teammates (Brown, Odom) who can't make a layup/dunk in the fourth quarter, then you have to have some understanding for Kobe and the bad shots he took. Walton and Smush are absolutely terrible on defense, and the brilliant play of Barbosa with second half shooting by KB24 pretty much doomed LAL. Look for PJ to turn deeper to his bench perhaps.
it's not kobe's fault that they lost game 1...it's their coach phil jackson...
I have noticed that you always want to attack Kobe's game. Kobe can't teach his teamates basketball and make them better, only they can do that. The Suns have 3 Allstars, last years Most improved and this years sixthman, who do the Lakers have "Smush , Sasha." The road to victory for LA runs and ends with Bryant, it has all year and it will continue to. If he makes 5 of the 10, Lakers win and Kobe is a hero, if not they loose and you get to bash him like your waiting to. Who would you have take the most important shots for LA?
I like Kobe but he shot too many difficult shots in the second half (especially the fourth). If he wants to shoot every time I'm fine with that, but get to the rim and get some fouls. You can't tell me that Jordan wouldn't have tried to play defense on Barbosa and then dunk one on his head for good measure after Barbosa's scoring explosion. Jordan had a way of beating other teams and making them feel small and helpless. Kobe doesn't seem to have that yet.
The Suns will never win anything of consequence with this style of basketball. Under no circumstances should a 61 win team have any trouble with a team that only won 4 of its last 12, and is still trying to work players back in from injuries. All of the praise that analysts heap on them makes their inability to even get to the Finals even more pathetic. No other team gets mentioned for as many regular season awards, but that hasn't won them anything yet. At least the Suns fans can be happy though, its not like they are used to having their teams win championships. Revel in your above-averageness Suns fans, it's the best you will ever get.
why do people compare kobe to jordan kobe is kobe and he is on a diffferent type of team, kobe has noone who can take the scoring load off, whereas jordan had many different options. Jordan in the 80's shot more than kobe does now and people would call him a ballhog also it was not until he got better players he won. so layoff kobe he is the only man on his team.
Every one appears to have an opinion, so here's mind. Kobe is a great ball player. If you are into stat's they don't lie, he does compare to MJ in many areas. But why compare? MJ hit the 2k per year shoots plateau twice in his career, versus Kobes once in their first 10 years. So MJ shot more than Kobe. The problems with the Lakers is not Kobe, its the team thats around him. You people kill me with all this stuff about Kobe making his team mates better. MJ had Rodman the league leading rebounder at 20 per game. And by the way he did that before he came to the Bullls, so MJ did not make him better. Kerr the NBA best 3pt shooter. He did that before, and after he left the Bulls, so MJ did not make him better. See the trend... You have to have talent to start with. The Suns have better players at every position except for the 2 position. They have a 6th man that is better than the Smush, and Farmer.
Since basketball is a team sport, why are there so many Kobe haters out there that don't seem to understand this fact? Any time you are menetioned in the same breath as the Big Dipper, and MJ, you are pretty special.
He's a test for you Kobe haters and calling him selfish, take a poll with the teams left in the western playoffs, and see how many other Lakers can even start on those teams at their positions. The answer is only one and that is Lamar, he might start on Goldern State, but the rest will not start. So the proof is alaways in the details, which so many of you morons seem to forget.
Would you like Amare or Brown? Barbosa or Smush? Marion or Luke? etc. ANd yes, Marion was a NBA allstar before Nash got there, and Amare is a monster without Nash.
i have been a huge Kobe fan for years now..but last night game really wants to think again...he took terrible shots at the end of the game...I mean the lakers were better off without him...they were within 6points...n then he comes back n fires up 5 straight misses...come on Kobe!!!! wat are you doing?
People miss the point when they start talking about the number of "all-stars" on a team. Great players are not just great, they make those around them great. That's why somebody with all the athletic ability in the world, like say Ricky Davis (or literally dozens of other current NBA players) will never be truly "great" in the hall of fame sense of the word. Jordan made a "Ricky Davis"-like player great: Scottie Pippen. He made him great through example, in practice every day and in every single regular season and playoff game, Jordan never took games off. Pippen used to dive for loose balls when the Bulls were winning a January game by 20 points against the last place team in the league. Jordan also made mediocre players damn good: Steve Kerr, John Paxon, Horace Grant, Luke Longly, Bill Wennington, BJ Armstrong, etc. etc... Kobe is a special athlete and an amazing athlete, but he does not make other players better, in fact, he often makes them worse, because of his self-centeredness and mood swings. Comparing him with Jordan is absurd. Jordan was the best ever, Kobe's not even the best this season (Nowitzki or Nash).
Once again Kobe continues to show that he is arugably the best one-on-one player in the league. Which would be great if not for the fact there were four other players out there who I'm sure can make a lay-up.
How many times does Phoenix have to make the conference finals before people stop saying their style of play won't work in the playoffs. By my count, the only teams over the past 2 years that have gone deeper than Phoenix are San Antonio, Detroit, Dallas and Miami. Theri style of play works just fine. Now, playing 1 on 5 for an entire game... that doesn't work too good.
It's alright, Kobe. Us Suns fans are used to above-averageness and beating your Lakers in the playoffs. We don't blame you for not having any basketball IQ and quitting on your team last year in Game 7. You can't help yourself.
... it's always like that if Lakers win it's because of Kobe, if they lose, it's still because of him. If he's got the hot hands, he'll keep on shooting, if he gets cold, he'll pass but if his teammates cannot make point blank layups, he'll keep on shooting nevertheless. But how many players have the guts to take the entire burden and blame for winning and losing these days? ONLY KOBE ...and that's already something to admire...
First of all, Mark Jackson only opined that he thought Kobe would end up with a greater career (wrong still) - he never said Kobe was better right now. But this year, he said Nash was the best player in the league so maybe that's a way of him taking back his absurd statement.
Secondly, people need to quit complaining about Kobe's teammates. He had the best teammates in the world once and he "wanted to go alone" so quit it.
Thirdly, real leaders make teammates better - not disappear. We've heard Odom, Smush and Caron all complaining about playing with Kobe. Scrubs around the league don't respect the guy so that tells you immediately he'll never be a natural leader.
Regarding yesterday's game, Kobe's real problem when he's shooting is that he shuts down his defense and cutting to set up his team. He's in a tunnel vision mode where all he's waiting for is his next shot. It's simply gagging to have someone like this being compared to MJ. Kobe has no clue how to let the game come to him. All he does is when he hits a three pointer now, he assumes he will hit again and starts firing away. Once in a blue moon, he'll hit them and get big points but that's not basketball for the betterment of the team.
Another sad part of Kobe's game is his inability to attach and finish around the rim. When his shot's not falling, he still fires away the hail mary three instead of penetrating. He's unable to finish so his confidence in his drive is further diminished which makes him even more of a jump shooter.
Lastly, what we keep seeing in the playoffs in Kobe is his difficulty performing in the clutch when it matters most. Kobe plays well against the worst teams on NBA League Pass but come national Playoffs time and he's a different story. MJ played his greatest games against the legendary teams when it mattered most in the playoffs. He could give a rats butt about shooting away at a lottery team. Kobe is no MJ but we have always known that.
if kobe looks to shoot...everyone gets mad. if he looks passive...everyone gets mad. if he shoots 40 times and scores 60...everyone points out that he only has 2 assists. if he shoots 40 and time and scores 30...people say he takes to many bad shots. when he shoots a fade away jumper and makes it...people say hes better than michael jordan. when he misses that same fade away jumper...people say he will never be michael because he doesnt get his teammates involved. why doesnt everyone just leave michael jordan out of the discussion and let kobe just be kobe. and when you all say to get his teammates involved, who are you talking about...smush parker and luke walton? they are not clutch players. i think that if you gave kobe the championship teams minus shaq, kobe wins a championship with derek fisher and robert horry cuz those boys were clutch.
I may be a huge Suns fan, but I believe Kobe is a great player. He is a great player surrounded by a bunch of players that belong in the D-League. Odom is above average, but injured. Walton has some upside, but some growing to do. Other than that, nothing. Kobe needs some help. Kobe can't win by himself and neither could MJ. MJ was far better though, because he scored as much as he did back when hand-checking was legal. Imagine if he played under today's rules. The Suns will get no respect until they win a championship and that's the way it should be.
Wow! I couldn't pass this one up. The reason the Lakers lost, is because the Suns have a better team, better chemistry and better talent. Kobe is a phenom, a truly great player, but he isn't a great team leader. To anonymous "not a Kobe fan" you lie. You bagged on McGrady and the Rockets, yet when they were healthy and clicking, they destroyed the Lakers this season. McGrady never was on a team with as much talent as the Lakers USED TO HAVE. As far as Carmello, how long has he been in the NBA? Not nearly as long as Kobe. I think after Shaq left, you found out who the REAL team leader of the Lakers was. As far as comparisons to MJ, there are none. MJ was a great team leader, and when he had great players around him, he led like Kobe never will. Kobe will always shine in personal stats, but he reminds me more of Wilt than MJ. (Plus, Kobe isn't getting younger, so don't expect him to lead another Laker Dynasty.)Bottom line is the Suns are better, and the better teams always win the series.
I think one OC Register columnist said it best when he said "the Lakers only have one fist to punch with".
In one offensive series two-time MVP Nash can pass to All-Star Marion, who can then pass to All-Star Stoudemire, and dish to future 6th man of the year Barbosa for a quick basket. Each of them a threat to hurt your defense.
On the other side we have super human Kobe pass to the dissappointing Odom, who then defers to soft Kwame Brown, who kicks it out to should be D-Leaguer Sasha Vujacic for a bricked three pointer.
If you were Kobe, what would you do?
You can't really compare Kobe to MJ. Kobe doesn't have to deal with hand-checking when he's breaking down a 1 on 1. And flip that around -- MJ didn't have to deal with zones, so he usually had an easier lane to drive.
I guess people forget about game seven last year (2006) against the Suns in the playoffs when Kobe took three shots in the second half and made only one point. The critics criticize Kobe for not taking over. Kobe is in a bad situation. If he sit back and wait on his teammates to get involved, the Lakers will have dug a hole that would make it impossible for two Jordans on the same team to get out of. If Kobe sits back, people criticize that and say he should take over. If Kobe is aggressive, critic say he should get his teammates involved. Kobe for MVP
The lakers lost because of Smush Parker! Period! To avoid the same mistake, bench him and put Shammond Williams as Famar's back up. Now it makes you realize, the Lakers should have pulled the trigger to send Bynum to the Nets for Jason Kidd. Bynum is full of potential, but in my opinion, he will never be as good as Duncan, Shaq among other great NBA centers. He has the ability to be another Kwame, full of potential and never delivered. I know he's still young but that's not an excuse. The Lakers should make some serious moves this summer. Don't resign Smush. Try to get KG or Kidd, or both. Don't waste Kobe's prime.
Kobe is a great player but he shouldnt of drove Shaq out of LA.
Shaq could win with anyone 80% of what Kobe is.
Just look at last year.
All I can say is fire Mitch Kupchak and let Jeanie Buss take over instead of Jim. Bring back Jerry West. These two have ruined the Lakers. Mitch Kupchak has got to be one of the worst GMs in the league next to Kevin McHale. Mitch's mantra: we'll give up one of our best players (Shaq) and get garbage in return...we don't care about things like basketball IQ and heart/determination.
If I could be Steve Nash for a game. I would have the luxury of being guarded by a rookie or a D-League castoff. I would have the opportunity to pass to 2 NBA allstars. I would be gifted with the opportunity to defend a rookie and a D-League castoff. Also when I went to the bench the NBA 6th man of the year would take my place. This arguement begins and ends with who has the better team. Kobe is afforded none of the luxuries that surrounds the reigning NBA MVP. So why did the Lakers lose, because they are the worse team. Kobe would make any team in the league better and I cannot say that about every player in the league, including our beloved Stevie Nash. Ask Dallas who they would rather match up with Steve Nash or Baron Davis. After last nights debacle I'm sure we all know the answer to that.
1) Backtrack to the start of last season, where many experts predicted that the suns would limp towards the playoffs without Amare and Joe Johnson being replaced by Bell (hardly the same offensive talent), and bank on having his return for the playoffs. Many said they would finish 2nd or 3rd in their division. Why? Think about it...At the start of last season, they simply did not have as good of a team on paper as the kings or lakers. Seriously, would ever heard of Diaw, Barbosa, and Bell as considerable talents before the start of last season. What happened? They developped...How? Steve Nash...He LET them develop, and HELPED them develop. Don't forget he is the system in phoenix, and players improve in that system. The Suns have revived/or jumpstarted many careers such as Joe Johnson, Q-RIch, Tim Thomas, and what have these palyers done since departing phoenix for more money?
2) Dallas would not have lost if they had Nash in their lineup. Because he would of created for his teammates (sometihng Terry and Harris barely do), and he especially would of helped Dirk get on track.
Don't forget that the Lakers still boast a very good jackson-coached team, and were playing extremely well in the 1st half of the season especially against the elite (they were even considered elite), and nobody wanted to play them in the 1st round. What happened? I don't know...maybe Kobe slowly coming back to form from offseason knee surgery...
A combination of things led to the Lakers loss. Kobe and Lakers shoot horribly in the fourth (3/17) 2. No one else stepped up in 4th when Kobe was struggling. 3. They just don't have enough talent to keep up with the Suns. The Lakers can't afford to take a quarter off and still compete against the Suns. Kobe needs a real supporting cast that includes a bona fide go to star for that one-two-punch combo(KG, Jermaine Oneal) to get out of the 1st round. If I'm J-Buzz I'm on the phone with Mchale and Bird or it's one and done next year all over again.
I think that the thing you have to ask yourself as a Laker fan right now is "The Suns shot 7% below their normal FG%, 14% below their normal 3PT FG%, 10% below their normal FT%, scored 15 points below their average points-per-game, and we still lost by a near double digit margin....what happens to us when they play an AVERAGE game?"
Buh-bye Lakers...you'll be lucky if you see game 5.
Bryant seems to be going thru the same transformation that MJ did back in the day. Remember it took MJ a few trips to the playoffs before he figured out that sharing is good. Honestly, I think Bryant's learning curve maybe steeper because he has a case study to follow. Look at Kobe's fadeaway and compare that to MJ's. The Lakers may not get it this year...but just you wait, Kobe will figure it out...and the Kobe Show will have a few championships under their belts.
Kobe is not Jordan. But I believe it's unfair to compare the 2 especially when Jordan had Pippen: one of the top 50 players of all time. Sure Kobe had Shaq earlier and yes, he did jack them up too much then, but I don't think that's really the case anymore. But now, who are we kidding? Odom is nowhere near Pip's level of ability. Pippen was the all around player who made everything click. The Lakers have Walton but he's no Pip. Finally Jordan had bad nights too, so it's a bit harsh to ride Kobe like this.
You mean the same Steve Nash that singlehandedly brought the team back in that game in Dallas earlier this month? Or the same Steve Nash that pwned the Mavs two years ago in the playoffs? The same Steve Nash that could win his third straight MVP? The reason the Mavs lost doesn't have as much to do with the Warriors as it does with the Mavs themselves. Yes, the Lakers are the worse team. And the Lakers are the way they are because of Bryant. He wanted to be the only man in town and now he is. I really don't want to hear any drivel about Kobe doesn't have any help. He had help and he drove him out of town.
If you traded Kobe for Nash the Lakers would be a better team. Kobe's teammates only look terrible because they play with Kobe. If Nash were on the Lakers instead of Kobe, Lamar Odom would most likely be an all-star and the Lakers would probably be playing with home court advantage right now as the 3rd or 4th seed. The Suns would look only slightly better than they did when Marbury was their point guard.
What makes Nash an MVP as much as anything is that he's completely unselfish and he gets the best out of his teammates because of it. Stoudemire and Marion could be the number one superstar of a mediocre team the way Kobe is now but Nash keeps them happy where they are. Kobe doesn't seem to want to play with other stars, maybe because they would get some of the credit for the team's success. That's why Shaq is playing in Miami isn't it? I'm surprised Lakers fans don't boo Kobe every time he touches the ball for that. Could you imagine Magic Johnson telling the owner they had to get rid of Kareem or he'd leave. In fact Magic used to publicly give Kareem all the credit, even though Magic was clearly the team's best player, just to keep Kareem happy.
Kobe can't lead a team. For whatever reason he isn't able to win the respect of his teammates. He can inspire awe but not effort. I'm sure that Kobe feels they need to win his respect first but it doesn't work that way if you're going to lead your team and help make it better. Scottie Pippen wasn't a great player when he joined the Bulls. Jordan helped max out his potential and Odom probably has more potential than Pippen had. Luke Walton is probably as good as Horace Grant when he joined the Bulls, and both Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynam could be better than Bill Cartwright or Luke Longley ever were.
So as far as Kobe being in the same class as Jordan he's not even close right now. There's still time of course, but if Kobe retired tomorrow he'd be remembered as one of the leagues greatest scorers, not one of the greatest players let alone the greatest ever. Magic Johnson is still the best Lakers player ever. I honestly don't see Kobe having much success in the future unless the Lakers get a real team leader. Kobe won't let it happen because then it would be even more apparent that he's not in the same class as Jordan or Magic.
Kobe is the best player in the world, sorrounded by the worst players in the league. We need Kevin Garnett or someone like him to take the load off Kobe, then we will witness another generation of LAL champions.
I think he is a leader, maybe not compared to MJ but he is, because if he is not, the Lakers will not be in the playoffs. If only his teammates can be more consistent, Kobe may not be taking bad shots. He can take over a game, he can have the ball everytime, but he still has confidence with his teammates. It is when they are missing, Kobe takes over. If they will be missing anyway, who would you like to see shooting the ball on the next possession? At least you know the percentage of Kobe making a shot is higher than the other guys. And yes, just like last year, they showed they can play with the Suns, even with Amare there.
Define making teammates better? If Kobe is driving and the defense collapses on him, makes a pass and his teammate got the shot, does that qualify to the definition of making teammates better? the way i see it, Nash does not makes teamates better because they are already good (heck, they are all-stars already!).. but Nash create opportunities for them to have a shot and they are knocking them down. If Kobe does the same and his teammates knocks them down consistently, then he also belongs to the group "making teammates better". But i have to go back to how do you define it... because it looks as if Kobe has done that... only his teammates are the one coming up short when the game is on the line.
Tex Winter, the creator of the Triangle Offense, once commented that Michael Jordan not only shoots more than Kobe Bryant but made lots of bad shots when Jordan was in his first five years. Jordan, on two consecutive years, was recorded to shoot over two- thousand times. What do you say Kobe-haters? Jordan never takes his team to the Finals in his first-four years. Kobe is just in his three years in post-Shaq Lakers. To say that MJ is better than Kobe because he earned six championships is not an accurate barometer for being the BEST player that ever the plays the game. Consider this: Jordan was surrounded by great players not by his making - they were already good players even before they suited up with the Bulls! Scottie Pippen both excelled as a defensive and offensive player, and that is why he is in the top 50 of the all time greatest players. What does Bryant have for a side-kick? Lamar Odom. Dennis Rodman was a monster rebounder and stopper even when he was in Spurs. At one time he averaged 20 rebounds for the Bulls. What does Bryant have? Brian Cook. Steve Kerr was not only a natural shooter - a 3-pointer guy - but also a cerebral player. And what does Bryant have? Smush Parker. Ron Harper was a heady player and can control the tempo of the game as well as a defensive genious. What does Bryant have? Sasha Vujacic. Jordan has Horace Grant who was a defender and rebounder and can shoot inside the perimeter. What does Bryant have? Ronnie Turiaf. Jordan has Luc Longley who can rebound and shoot. What does Bryant have? Kwame Brown. Jordan had Toni Kukoc, considered the greatest player in Europe that time before he played with the Bulls. What does Bryant have? Space Cadet Vlad Radmanovic. Come on guys, get real! Go figure out Kobe-haters, why do you think Jordan earned his six championships? Was it because the players around him super-imposed his great talent and not the other way around? Kobe-haters, do not be too emotional, let the white matter inside your cranium reasons out and not your heart! Just to think of this: Jordan is already great that time, and those writers and so-called basketball analyst in the East Coast have magnified his greatness. Its a product of infomercial, so to speak. Jordan is likeable guy - he has charisma. Kobe in the past was very aloof and never wanted to talk to the media and this backfired on him even now. You Kobe-haters are poisoned by the hate-Kobe-media. Open your brains to the reality, Kobe is greater than Jordan! Just think about the 81 against Raptors and the 62 (in third quarter only) against the Mavericks; Jordan in his great years has not attained that stellar performances. So for the last time, it's nonsensical to compare Kobe with Jordan. Yes, Kobe is superior than Jordan as a player!
to me, kobe is the best one on one player since michael jordan. teams have to do more than double him. like the suns, sure raja bell takes the main assignment, but you always see at least one guy coming at him from the sides or behind. like shawn marion and barbosa two pretty good defenders in their own right. if only his teammates would make open shots...thats why he shoots so much. 1 for 10 in that fourth quarter. they should get garnett and then see where kobe could take them. cause he needs help thats for sure.
so some of you will probably not understand where I'm coming from when I say this, but I think Ronnie Turiaf has played better off Kobe against the suns than any other player. I don't think its that Kobe is not willing to give the Ball up I just think that many of the Lakers players don't know how to work to get it. There was one instance in game 1 where either Bynum or Brown Set a back Screen and Kobe faked like he would take a jumper and shot it to the center real quick for an easy dunk. That's how you should play... Let Kobe dribble for you. You just get close to the basket. That's what the Suns do they let Nash go into the heart of the defense, and he handles it the whole time. If Jackson starts Turiaf for game 2 it should be interesting.
The Lakers are absolutely terrible. They are the third worst team in the playoffs (behind Wizards and Magic) and the worst in the West. Kobe is great, but the team is god awful. They cannot challenge the Suns. In fact, the Lakers are merely a stepping stone for the Suns to their first NBA championship. The only thing worst than the Lakers this year are Lakers fans.