Posts Tagged ‘kobe bryant

03
Sep
12

Kobe Bryant’s Best and Worst Playoff Series (Part 2)

In order to fully appreciate a player from a historical standpoint, one has to embrace both the highs and the lows of his career.

When it comes to Kobe, a player who entered the NBA as an 18 year old and has since entered the ‘top 5 ever’ discussions, looking at the highs and the lows is not only entertaining – it’s essential.

In Part 1, we looked at Kobe’s 5 WORST Playoff series. For Part 2, here’s a ranking of Kobe’s 5 BEST Playoff series:

5. Playoffs 2008 2nd Round vs. the Utah Jazz: 33.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 7.2 apg.

  • Before Game 2 of this series, David Stern handed Kobe’s his first (and so far, only one) regular season MVP Award. In all 6 games, Kobe demonstrated why he was the best and most valuable player in the league. The Lakers won in 6 games, and went on to face the Spurs in the WCF.

4. Playoffs 2009 NBA Finals vs. the Orlando Magic: 32.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 5.6 apg.

  • This is still Kobe’s best Finals series, in which he cemented his legacy and finally proved that he can “win a ring without Shaq,” something that idiots had been using to argue against Kobe’s legacy ever since LA traded Shaq to the Miami Heat.

3. Playoffs 2001 Western Conference SemiFinals vs. the Sacramento Kings: 35.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 4.3 apg.

  • Many people forget that LA’s best player in the 2001 Playoffs (up until the Finals) was not Shaq. Kobe dominated throughout the whole series, and he saved his best for last: 48 points & 16 rebounds in Game 4 to complete the sweep and move on to the WCF. In my opinion, that game is still Kobe’s best Playoff performance.

2. Playoffs 2001 Western Conference Finals vs. the San Antonio Spurs: 33.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 7.0 apg.

  • The whole 2001 Playoffs was Kobe’s coming out party. He completely demolished the team with the best record in the league, and carried the Lakers to the NBA Finals. He played so well that Shaq called him “the best player in the world” and “my idol” in press conferences between games.

1. Playoffs 2010 Western Conference Finals vs. the Phoenix Suns: 33.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 8.3 apg.

  • Kobe’s performance in this series was nothing short of brilliant. His averages, his efficiency (.521 FG%, .432 3FG%, .881 FT%), his clutchness, and the amount of ridiculous shots he hit were all off the charts. In a way, it was a payback for the 2 First Round losses by the Suns in 2006 and 2007.

Honorable mention (chronological order):

  • the 2008 First Round vs. the Denver Nuggets: 33.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 6.3 apg.
  • the 2009 Western Conference Finals vs. the Denver Nuggets: 34.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 6.2 apg.
  • the 2010 Western Conference SemiFinals vs. the Utah Jazz: 32.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.8 apg.

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These series are a true reflection on Kobe’s greatness, work ethic and longevity – his greatest series span anywhere from 2001 to 2010, which a LONG time for a basketball player.

02
Sep
12

Kobe Bryant’s Best and Worst Playoff Series (Part 1)

In order to fully appreciate a player from a historical standpoint, one has to embrace both the highs and the lows of his career.

When it comes to Kobe, a player who entered the NBA as an 18 year old and has since entered the ‘top 5 ever’ discussions, looking at the highs and the lows is not only entertaining – it’s essential.

So, in Part 1, here are Kobe’s 5 WORST Playoff series:

1. Playoffs 1998 2nd Round vs. the Seattle SuperSonics: 3.7 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 0.0 apg.

  • This is by far the worst series Kobe has ever played. He was sidelined for 2 games because of flu, and in the other 3 games the virus affected his performance so much that people started speculating that the Lakers were better off without him on the floor. Still, the Lakers handled their business and won the series 4-1.

2. Playoffs 1997 2nd Round vs. the Utah Jazz: 8.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.8 apg.

  • In Game 5, with the Jazz holding a 3-1 series lead, the 18 year old took it upon himself to bring LA to victory – and failed miserably. He shot a couple of airballs which gave the Jazz a 98-93 victory. According to Kobe, this series (especially the way Game 5 ended) was his main motivation for improving his game in the Summer of 1997.

3. Playoffs 1998 Western Conference Finals vs. the Utah Jazz: 10.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.0 apg.

  • While Kobe was sidelined with flu (see above), the Lakers were rolling and looked like title contenders, ready to challenge the back-to-back champions Chicago Bulls. Kobe’s return, however, pushed Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones back to their original roles, which ruined the team’s momentum. The Lakers were swept by the Jazz, who lost to the Bulls in 6 games.

4. Playoffs 1997 1st Round vs. the Portland TrailBlazers: 7.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.5 apg.

  • Though these averages are not any better than the ones mentioned above, considering his role and minutes played, Kobe had a decent series. His FG% was above .500, he didn’t turn the ball over (only 1 tpg), and had 22 points in a Game 4 loss, showing that he has a bright future ahead of him. The Lakers won the series 3-1.

5. Playoffs 1998 1st Round vs. the Portland TrailBlazers: 11.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.0 apg.

  • Coming from a season that many considered worthy of a 6th Man of the Year Award (finished 2nd in the voting behind Suns’ Danny Manning), Kobe underperformed in the 1st Round of the 1998 Playoffs. Still, the Lakers won the series 3-1.

Honorable mention (chronological order):

  • the 1999 1st Round vs. the Houston Rockets: 18.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 5.8 apg.
  • the 2000 NBA Finals vs. the Indiana Pacers: 15.6 pgg, 3.8 rpg, 4.2 apg (got injured in the 1st quarter of Game 2 and was never the same).
  • the 2004 NBA Finals vs. the Detroit Pistons: 22.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.4 apg (a mix of Pistons’ terrific defense, the Kobe-Shaq beef reaching its apex, and the sexual assault case trial looming).

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These series shouldn’t be viewed as a stain on Kobe’s career – in all 8 of them he was either too young/inexperienced, injured/sick, or facing serious off court issues.

These bad performances should be recognized as something that fueled Kobe’s fire through the years, and made him strive to be the best basketball player he can be. Most all-time greats (MJ, Kareem, Wilt, Larry Bird, etc.) never had to go through a transition period where they weren’t “the man” on their teams. In that respect, Kobe’s career is truly one of a kind.

21
Feb
12

Dear Lakers General Manager,

I understand that you are on the verge of deciding Pau Gasol’s fate of either being traded of kept for the team. If I could voice my opinion, I would say to please keep him, for various reasons. For one thing, even after Pau was not traded for money to make room for the possible Chris Paul acquirement, he understood it was just a business and still came to the Laker practices. He showed a sense of maturity and no serious hard feelings. He displays a level of chemistry with his teammates that push the Lakers, although not at their prime, to still win games. He shows so much energy and gives everything he has on the court. He has definitely played better than last season’s playoff games, and I can feel that he is trying to make up for that performance. Back on the chemistry topic, Kobe is a player levels above most players in the NBA, so he feels the need to shoulder the team, but with Pau Gasol, Kobe won’t feel too pressured. It takes a level of skill to have Kobe’s trust like that. On performance-wise, Pau Gasol is still top-ranked among the bigs of the league to be extremely versatile in not only posting up and creating space by boxing out to a rebound, and defending with power, but also has range beyond the paint, basketball I.Q. that allows him to see several moves ahead, and quick hands to create assist’s to his teammates.

As you can see from the Game today, his teammates gave him opportunities to prove himself worthy of staying on the Lakers. His teammates still want him there.

So please Mitch Kupchak, think long and hard when making this decision.

Thank you.

Respectfully Yours,

A Laker Fan

21
Feb
12

Kobe:Trade Pau Or Leave Him Alone!

Kobe Bryant wants an answer and he wants it now.

“I wish management would come out and either trade him or not trade him,”Bryant said crisply after the Lakers’ 102-90 loss Sunday. “It’s just tough for a player to give his all when you don’t know if you’re going to be here tomorrow.I’d rather them not trade him at all, but if they’re going to do something, I wish they would just … do it.”

The man is fed up with all the uneasy air of gloom in the team. The elephant in the room. 

In my opinion, they don’t really have to give up Gasol. They made a lot of heads turn when they got him back in 2008 and he was one of the people responsible for the back to back championships in 09-10, they can’t just let him go. Yes, he was inconsistent during last season’s playoffs but he is playing better now. Not as good as before but he contributes a huge chunk in points and especially rebounds. Letting him leave would be a big mistake.

“He’s been the consummate professional,” Bryant said. “He’s going out and he’s trying to do what he can. But let’s be real. If you didn’t know you were going to be here tomorrow, if your head’s on the chopping block … it’s tough to put all of yourself into the game.”

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Without a focused Gasol, the Lakers won’t be able to seriously challenge the Thunder, Spurs, Mavericks and Clippers for the top spot. It would be awesome if they get to have Dwight Howard, he could be a great help in anchoring the team in the playoffs but it would cost them having a disoriented team again. They are still struggling with Mike Brown’s new system and having another new player in the mix would be difficult especially in this lockout season. Not enough time to adjust thoroughly and have chemistry.

There is no need for the Lakers to have another big man because they have 2 of the best in the league. What they really need is a legitimate point guard. Or someone to help the back court. I was really excited about the rumor that Gilbert Arenas is going to be playing for the Lakers a few weeks ago. But no news from the management so far. I guess we will just have to wait til the All-Star break is over. In the mean time, Good luck to Pau in wrestling with the daily drama of the rumor mill.

10
May
11

Lakers Are Swept.Road To Rebuilding beings.

How the mighty have fallen.

Back to back to back finals appearances had to stop sometime.But I most definitely didn’t think it would end like this.

Congrats to Dallas for being the better team this series.They didn’t only destroy the triangle,they were monsters on the outside.

Well at least the bandwagon will be smaller next year.Time to rebuild for the Post-Phil Era.Time to make some moves.We need a PG;a young athletic PG preferably.Hate to say it but Pau,Bynum.One of you might not be there next year.GET RID OF MATT FUCKING BARNES.

Kobe needs to change his game a little bit starting next season.Everyone knows it, Kobe Bryant is getting older every season and is reaching the end of the tunnel (which is still another 4-5 years).But we know he is not the athletic young kid he used to be, his body is beaten up, and he may not be the prolific scorer he once was but can definitely still score with the best of them.

Although you do see it at times, Kobe really needs to start posting up in the paint and working in his fadeaway. He has the best footwork in basketball at the guard position (even for any position). The days of him shooting long two pointers and trying nail the three ball all game long need to be put away for good. Kobe is still going to be Kobe, don’t get me wrong. But as much as I want him to drive to the basket, the man simply does not get the elite treatment from the refs anymore.

I hope Ron Artest spends the summer learning how to shoot, instead of putting together an album.We are stuck with him because no other team wants his awful contract.I don’t see why developing a jumper should be such a rough task,Trevor Ariza developed one on the fly.When you have a dude who cant shoot, the floor doesnt get stretched, look at how dallas pick us apart;thats all it was.I’m not surprised and i did brace myself because I knew this team isnt that mentally tough, especially when you think about how Bynum, Odom and Artest imploded with cheap shots.

No excuses for Pau Gasol.He has been terrible and there’s no denying it. Absent in these playoffs,absent virtually all season long.Seeing Kobe pull up for a shot, instead passing it off to an open Gasol who had his back turned, just knew it’s over. He has to be gone, somehow. This franchise has maxed him out, either persue Dwight, or start the building of and around Bynum early.

Lamar Odom played the best season of his career.MAKE THAT MAN A STARTER IN THE 2011-2012 SEASON!!!!!

No excuses.

This concludes the Los Angeles Lakers road to 3-Peat.

Enjoy the summer.Hopefully this sweep humbled you.Players and fans alike.

06
May
11

Lakers Look Limp, Tonight’s Game A Must Win With Their Backs Against The Wall

Who would’ve thought that this Lakers team would lose their first two games at home? Who thought that they would have their backs against the wall against an old Mavericks team? It’s quite depressing watching the Lakers fall apart before our eyes.

This situation isn’t a good look for those in purple and gold and knowing that they are playing the most disappointing basketball doesn’t make things any easier. In game 2 they were out-played, out-hustled, and weren’t able to take full control of the game. Tyson Chandler,Haywood, and even Dirk made things a lot easier for the Mavs as they were able to man the middle and prevent the Lakers from getting easy baskets inside. The Mavs moved the ball around well consistently throughout the game and were able to get good looks whenever they wanted to.

Usually I’d let the Lakers slide a bit if they have to contain a young speedy guard, but Kidd is neither young nor speedy. All Kidd has at this point is his IQ but that seems to be more than enough to break down the Lakers’ defense. Barea on the other hand is fast and young and as a result torched the Lakers when he was in the game. Both teams still shot around 41-42% so it’s not to say that their defense was dismal but they could’ve made more of a statement defensively to show that they won’t take crap from wanna-be contenders such as the Mavs.

The Lakers couldn’t get any jumpers to fall for them. It was actually pathetic. They kept launching open three after open three after open three with the same result, CLANK! Mid Range Jumpers? BRICK! You can play defense all you want but in the end if you can’t score more points than your opponent than it doesn’t matter. Steve Blake at one point had two consecutive wide open looks from the corner and failed. So they ended the game on 10%  shooting from three? Now that’s championship basketball!

The only bright spot for the Lakers? Andrew Bynum. Why they didn’t dump it in to him more often? A mystery. He finished 8-11 with 18 points and 13 boards. Lamar took a total of 12 shots some of which were questionable. If you gave Bynum 6 more shots he would’ve made at least four of them. Their free throws were a joke as well. A whopping nine misses on twenty attempts. Dwight Howard or even Shaq can go 11-20 by themselves but give credit to the Lakers for the team effort.

It’s not going to be easy for these Lakers. If they lose one of the next two games, the series is over. They can’t go back home down 3-1 and expect to pull it out. They must win the next two by swinging the ball around with many back picks and tons of off-ball movement to space the floor and give the bigs the opportunity to score the ball inside or find the open cutters. They need to chase the Mavs off the three as well as drain their own looks.

Without Artest for game three due to his suspension, Odom will most likely take the starting spot, making them really long. Maybe this will be the change needed to overcome the recent woes. With the extra size hopefully they can take advantage defensively and use Odom’s point guard skills on the offensive end and have the rest of the team play off of him.

It’s definitely not impossible but if they can pull off these next two, then I have no problem saying that they will win the series. It will take a lot of  heart, courage, energy, and composure. Let’s not forget about one little detail either, Kobe Bryant. As long as #24 is suiting up for your team, you always have a pretty good chance of winning multiple games in a row. The only way Kobe can surprise me is if he sucks it up, otherwise, don’t be shocked if he shows his greatness.They’ve accomplished harder feats, faced tougher teams with more on the line so we know the Lakers are capable just as we know how the Mavs are capable of blowing a 2-0 lead in the Finals.

23
Feb
11

Carmelo Anthony to New York: Could This Lead to Dwight Howard on the Lakers?

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard must hear the clock ticking down on his time in Florida.

The Magic already trail Boston, Miami and Chicago in the East standings, and now that Carmelo Anthony has taken his talents to New York, the competition just got a little stiffer.

Anthony’s decision may be the extension of a trend that started when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami, and now that the water has began to trickle, you can likely expect a future flood of free agents pursuing the same avenues.

New Orleans point guard Chris Paul, Utah point guard Deron Williams and Howard are the next tier of high profile players who face an impending decision, and you can expect them to make their choices based on recent events.

New York, Miami and Los Angeles will likely make the strongest push for Paul and Williams, and the same group of teams with the addition of Chicago will likely be in the hunt for Howard’s services.

The common thread among those teams is that they represent some of the largest media markets in the NBA, and the residual effects of Anthony and the South Beach trio’s respective decisions could be an end to parity in the league.

There is little doubt that Paul, Williams and Howard will make decisions based on their best opportunity to compete for a championship, and that immediately puts their current teams at a disadvantage.

Howard is considered to be the gem of 2012’s free agency class, and there have been rumors that the Lakers would be one of his primary suitors once he becomes available.

There is a precedent when it comes to Orlando centers departing Disney World for Los Angeles, and Howard could have just as big an impact as Shaquille O’Neal.

The Lakers have thus far been reluctant to entertain trade overtures directed towards center Andrew Bynum, but would they feel the same way if the other player on the end of the deal was Howard?

Furthermore, you can be sure that Magic general manager Otis Smith has played close attention to the proceedings going on between Denver and New York.

There is little chance that Smith can hijack the Lakers the way that Denver did New York, but potentially receiving Bynum and a few other players for Howard is better than losing him for nothing at all.

And the chances of Orlando losing Howard increase exponentially with Anthony signing in New York.

It’s doubtful that Smith can convince players like Paul and Williams to join Howard in Orlando because the lure of major markets and multiple elite teammates may be too much to overcome.

The Magic do have a financial edge since they can match the offer of any potential suitor, but during this new revolutionary age of the NBA, money may not hold as much weight as it once did.

But the chance to join Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and possibly Chris Paul in Tinseltown could.

The Miami Heat and Anthony have illuminated the path to future NBA title contention, but will Howard follow that lighted path to Los Angeles?

And yes the salaries do match up.




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