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Red's Army

Sometimes players just miss… even Kobe

RedsArmyAdmin June 10, 2009 Uncategorized 10 Comments

Sad kobe

I know this might come off as a defense of Kobe Bryant… and I guess it sort of is in a way.  But one thing that I can't stand even more than Kobe is the knee-jerk reaction to something like the game he had last night.

Take, for example, Bill Plaschke… who writes this today:

The Lakers endured swish after swish against what became the
hottest-shooting team in NBA Finals history, yet still tied it up in
the final three minutes.



Then Bryant gasped.



The Lakers still had a chance in the final minute, trailing by a basket with their best player dribbling the ball.



Then Bryant coughed.



The ending was remarkable in that, this being the first Finals win in
Magic franchise history, Amway Arena was filled with falling confetti
and the incessant wail of a foghorn.



It was also remarkable in that the game's best closer was just too darn exhausted to do anything about it.

Or Adrian Wojnarowski on Yahoo

Everything had changed in these NBA Finals, and deep down Bryant
understood that all those minutes, all those games over the past two
years – with the Lakers, with Team USA – take a toll. He reached back
in Game 3, and a most unsettling truth washed over him: Even with 31
points and eight assists, the burst wasn’t there for Bryant.

Truth be told, Bryant was beat.

Willing heart, wobbly legs.

Maybe Kobe was a little gassed at the end of Game 3… but who isn't at that point?  But the point of those pieces… and the countless others like them… is that Kobe is run down from two full finals runs and the Olympics.  As much as I'd like to believe that… I just don't think it's true.  If he was run down, he wouldn't have gone INTO Denver in Game 6 and shot 60%.  He wouldn't have taken over games down the stretch like he did in Game 2. 

But what these pieces don't seem to consider at all, is that sometimes even superstars miss shots.  Sometimes, even superstars turn it over in the clutch.  It happens. And it happened last night.  The Magic played some good defense.  Courtney Lee stepped up.  And Kobe Bryant had a bad game. 

It happens.

Why am I saying all this?  Why am I, the biggest Laker/Kobe hater around, defending him from the "is he run down" stuff? 

Because if the Magic and Magic fans believe it, then they're gonna get smoked in game 4… and Kobe will shoot 50% while dropping 45.  If the Magic approach the game as if Kobe is gassed, then he'll dominate them in every possible way and we're going to be looking at another blowout. 

And THEN, these same writers who were wrong will assume they were right… and we'll be deluged by stories that Kobe is "overcoming fatigue" to lead the Lakers to a win.  I won't be able to handle that kind of onslaught of Kobe loving.  So I
feel like I have to defend him now, so hopefully I don't have to endure
worse craziness later.

Kobe got tired at the end of an NBA game like a normal human being… and when he tried to be Kobe, he missed a few shots.  That's it.  If Kobe was really fatigued and hitting a wall… we would have seen some more evidence before last night. But he's shooting 45.6% in the series.  His season average was 46%.  He's never missed more that 2 free throws in a game this post season.  Missing 5 last night was an aberration… not part of a trend.

So believe Kobe has hit a wall at your own peril.  But if I were you, Orland Magic and their fans, I'd be approaching this as if Kobe is still Kobe.  To paraphrase some wise men, don't believe today's hype.

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  • John (Lakersland)

    HAHA, as a Celtics hating Lakers fan, I am immensely impressed with this post. Unlike the moron at BarcrapSports who likes to steal your ideas and analysis, you make a very good point here.
    It’s one frigging blown play. I could cite you a thousand plays blown by Kobe, many of which cost the Lakers wins.
    You play sports, you’ll get turnovers, fumbles, errors, whatever. It happens. I do love seeing the knee jerk reactions from jerk bloggers though.
    “OMFG, Kobe choked! If the Lakers lose, it’s all his fault! OMG OMG! If Lebron was playing Orlando, he wouldn’t have choked and beat them in this series! OMG!”

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f6a54c2970c ToTheRuins

    What are you even talking about?
    Have you missed the last 2 times Kobe was in the finals, have you not watched him since 2003? the only overreaction people are making is the one acting shocked that kobe didnt close a game… he doesnt close more often then he actually does

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f6a54c2970c ToTheRuins

    and hes an excerpt from bill simmons latet article, and hes spot on:
    Important note: Kobe’s reputation as a “killer” at the end of games remains overblown. The site http://www.82games.com just posted a study of game-winning shots from the last five-plus seasons (regular seasons and playoffs since the 2003-04 season) that revealed Kobe was shooting 14-for-56 (25 percent) with one assist and five turnovers, and made 12 of 15 free throws. So let’s say that was 70 possessions total, including Sunday night. … He only had one assist in nearly six years??? That’s why Orlando quadruple-teamed him in that spot. Kobe is a phenomenal streak shooter, and he has a real talent for catching fire with a lead and closing games out … but you can stop him in one-shot situations simply because he’s his own worst enemy. He wants to be a hero, he’s shooting it, and that’s that.

  • Uncle Leo

    People have watched him since 2003 and they’ve seen him put games away in the fourth quarter, which is why he earned that reputation. If it came down to the last possession 25% is pretty good considering opposing teams would double or triple him knowing he was the only option.
    Stop with the grudge, nothing wrong with not liking him but your quest to make kobe seem like an average or even bad player is ridiculous.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/redsarmy Red’s Army

    I think you’re missing the point of this piece. I’m saying that you can’t just say “Kobe’s hit a wall.” Whether he hits shots with 5 seconds to go or not is besides the point. He can kill you for the first 47 minutes and 55 seconds if you back off at all.
    So my point is… don’t back off Kobe thinking he’s gassed and done. I’m saying this because I want him to lose. I want him to fail. But he won’t if the Magic and their fans expect him to just fall off now. And at that point, he’ll only be held in a higher regard.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f6a54c2970c ToTheRuins

    lol…hey leo…I dont have a grudge against kobe bryant and im not trying to make him seem average or whatever youre talking about…to the point that I get called a lakers fan around this site at times….hes a top 3 player in the league and has been for a while….great great talent…..but hes still overrated on the all-time list (people call him the best ever, or top 5 all time….when, is he even a top 5 laker of all time?) and is still an overrated closer…yes he wants the ball on those situation, but he fails in them much more then he prevails, the facts are in the stats

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f6a54c2970c ToTheRuins

    I dont think the magic pay any attention to what the medias saying…they know he hasnt hit a wall or whatever the media is saying…Kobe is kobe, and that was no different last night…as a matter of fact, he had the best first half of his career in the finals, maybe even his entire playoff career

  • Uncle Leo

    What do game winners have to do with anything? Closing means over the course of the 4th quarter he puts games away. Technically you could have one guy that just takes the last shot every time the game is on the line and he hits it 100%, but those were his only contributions in the entire quarter, does that make him a closer?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f6a54c2970c ToTheRuins

    noones talking about game winners leo

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f6a54c2970c ToTheRuins

    still an overrated part of his game…he doesnt put games away as much as he hasnt put games away…simple facts leo…people are stunned because he didnt put a game away last night….why? happens pretty consistently…. happened now 8 times just in these playoffs…not to mention it was odom and gasol who put game 2 away while kobe turned the ball over and shot over triple teams and tottally blew coverage on the last alley oop play