There was Kobe Bryant last night… gliding through the air… flailing like a cartoon character falling off a cliff every time he got touched… and shooting. Oh… was Kobe ever shooting. A lot.
And I loved it.
Kobe shot 12 of 20 last night. Better than 50%. Good shooting night from Kobe. But it was his, ahem, passing that I REALLY loved to watch. All… ONE… of his assists were gorgeous. See for yourself: It was this one… to Pau Gasol (the look on his face is priceless. "Zee ball… she finally escapes Zee Mamba!").
It didn't matter if 2 guys were on him with Pau Gasol wide open. Or if he had 2 options to give a teammate and easy dunk. Or if he was way off balance with 3 guys staring at him (leaving SOMEONE open). Or if he was so far under the basket that it would have seemed like a bad shot for even plastic man to attempt. Or… well… you get the point.
Kobe Bryant shot the ball 20 times. Sasha Vujacic was second on the team… with 10 attempts.
I will take that kind of game from Kobe every time. In fact… I'm begging him to play that exact same game again. Same for the rest of the Lakers. If there is some magic spell that would allow for all of those same shot attempts in Game 4… I'd sign up for it right now.
Because Kobe was "Bad Kobe" last night. Sure, he was on fire… but don't be fooled… He was "Bad Kobe" through and through. Doubling up your teammates shot attempts is big-time bad. One assist is mega-bad. 87 points from the "vaunted" Lakers offense… at home… in Game 3 of the Finals… is a boy-band made up of week-one 'American Idol' rejects bad.
The Lakers need Pau Gasol to have MVP-type numbers for them to have a real chance… But Kobe Bryant needs to be the MVP. Kobe will never… EVER… allow anyone to look back at these Finals and say "sure… you won without Shaq… but Gasol was the Finals MVP."
So keep shooting Kobe. Take 20 shots again in Game 4. 25 even. Hell… make it an even 30. Every shot you hoist… just makes things easier for the Celtics.