Posts Tagged ‘NBA Playoffs

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.

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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.

28
Apr
12

NBA 2012 Playoffs predictions

Finally, it’s playoff time. The time where casual fans decide to show up and watch the games, while spewing their nonsense opinions so that the rest of us can get annoyed by their stupidity. Anyway, let’s get on with the predictions:

Philadelpha 76ers v. Chicago Bulls: Come on, Philly. You know whether or not you play Chicago or Miami you guys would still get eliminated in this round. It’s your own fault for slipping so hard when you guys were considered a top 4 East team and then lost the Atlantic division to Boston. Chicago Bulls in 5.

New York Knicks v. Miami Heat: The Knicks are the dark horse of the East and they have plenty of momentum, yet so many question marks such as Amare’s rebounding and defensive abilities. His offense has been slowly coming back, but still a minor question mark. It just so happens that the Knicks have to play the scariest team in the league, which is Miami. It’s hard to see the Heat losing in the first round when they’re one of the favorites to win it all. Miami Heat in 6. (God, I hope I’m wrong)

Orlando Magic v. Indiana Pacers: The Magic suck. They’re awful. They pretty much tanked the season already with Dwight opting for surgery. Indiana is the real deal. They’re not quite in the upper echelon like Chicago or Miami, but these niggas ain’t scrubs. Indiana Pacers in 5.

Dallas Mavericks v. Oklahoma City Thunder: This is a rematch of last year’s playoffs. However, this time around, the Thunder are the most dangerous team in the West and the Mavs lost a lot of key players from last season. Oklahoma City Thunder in 6.

Utah Jazz v. San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs came as a surprise to me, and many others as they took the no. 1 spot over OKC. At the start of the season, I saw them coming in at like the 5th seed, factoring age and lack of talent. Even with many injuries and age, Popovich has coached the shit out of what looks to be on paper, a team destined for first round elimination. San Antonio Spurs in 5.

Denver Nuggets v. Los Angeles Lakers: The Nuggets never really looked scary all season long. There are just a bunch of solid players with no standout superstar and that will hurt them in the playoffs. Al Harrington is also limited with his meniscus injury. With the acquisition of Sessions, the Lakers became a contender instantly and they’re looking pretty good. Also, Nuggets have no answer for Bynum. Los Angeles Lakers in 5.

Atlanta Hawks v. Boston Celtics: Probably one of the more repetitive matchups of recent years. Atlanta is good, but without Horford they’re really handicapped. The Celtics are banged up a bit too, but they found gems out of Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass. One more key thing, Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves decided to show up all of a sudden. This can be a great series. Boston Celtics in 7.

Los Angeles Clippers v. Memphis Grizzlies: The Clippers have so much talent on their team. Lob City, bitch. Lob Lob City, bitch. Okay, all the hype aside, Memphis is the real deal. At the start of the season I predicted Memphis being as good as no. 2 in the West. I was kinda off, but that’s probably because of the huge injury to Z-Bo and the surprising Spurs. Memphis Grizzlies in 7.




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