Posts Tagged ‘Utah Jazz

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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