By Craig Kwasniewski
(Relax Stu Jackson, Kobe is not throwing an elbow at Garnett in this photo!)
Kobe the Facilitator is dead, long live Mamba!
Gone is Kobe creating uncontested five foot jumpers for Smush Parker to brick. Gone is Kobe drawing a triple team and dishing to Brian Cook for a blown dunk. Gone is Kwame Brown dropping a hand-off from Kobe out of bounds... well actually Kwame still drops passes, they're just from Odom and Walton.
115 points in two games, but more importantly two straight wins. Look, I'm as much of a basketball purist as the next guy. I went to college in the basketball hotbed of Indiana (Purdue, BTW - the Boilermakers gave a good showing against Florida yesterday...damn!), so I appreciate the defensive game along with teamwork on offense. However, much like the Iverson-led Sixers a few years ago, the Lakers players and fans actually feed off the Kobe's energy when he's carrying the team offensively. The crowd rises (both at home and away) and the Lakers raise their defensive intensity, which has been mostly non-existent in 2007.
I noticed this first a few weeks ago when Boston came to town. The Lakers were on a six game losing streak and they needed a boost of any kind. Kobe opened with 22 points in the first quarter and the rest of the Lakers followed his lead, locking down the Celtics on their way to a 122-96 win. It was the 2005-06 Lakers all over again, Kobe going ballistic leading a talentless Laker squad (or in this case, a very injured one) to victory.
Unfortunately, Kobe went back to the facilitator role the next few games and the Lakers continued to lose.
As the past two games tell us, the Lakers need Mamba to reappear for them to have any chances to make the playoffs. Let's just hope that Kobe the Facilitator is dead a buried.
Ironic Jaric: Here's something I bet you did not know; Marco Jaric wears Kobe Bryant's shoes. I saw the T-Wolves guard rocking the Nike Air Zoom Kobe I's last night. I thought he may have worn them just to taunt Mamba, but he's been wearing them all season. Maybe Kobe threw an elbow because Jaric doesn't live up to the Nike Air Zoom name.
Andrew Bynum has Mike James' number: Mike James needs to mix in a pump fake or stutter-step when driving in on Bynum. The Lakers Center rejected another drive down the lane, he's making a living blocking Mike James layup attempts.
MVP...MVP...: Can we stop with the MVP chants for Kobe Bryant? Think about it, Kobe had a way better season last year and finished 5th in the voting. This season, the Lakers have had losing streaks of six and seven games and have lost 13 of their last 18 games, not really worthy of MVP votes. So unless the Laker fans are reto-chanting for the All-Star game, they need to stop it right now.
Let's show the world we're not the dumbest fanbase and start chanting, "Keep on shooting!" clap... clap... clap-clap-clap, "Keep on shooting!" clap... clap... clap-clap-clap, or "Cu-ut Par-ker!" clap... clap... clap-clap-clap, "Cu-ut Par-ker!"
Missed Out on 65: I was in Vegas for March Madness from Wednesday to Saturday so I missed the 65 on Friday. All I can say is "damn!" I ended up watching the game sitting at a Pai Gow Poker table at the LV Hilton. There was a flat-screen TV right behind us and we kept checking the game between hands. (That turn-around three point shot was sick!!!) The tradeoff was that all of us at the table were winning big at the time. That game along with the Robert Horry shot against Sacramento are the two historic Laker games that I've missed since I got season tickets in 1999-00.
You owe me Matt!!!