Question: What does it take to defeat this prototype of Michael Jordan?
I was wrong. The answer is the Dallas Mavericks with Jason Terry tying a playoff record with nine 3-pointers, and the club matching NBA postseason marks with 11 3s in the first half and 20 for the game. Dallas made 63 percent of its shots from behind the arc (20 of 32) and 60 percent of its field goals (44 of 73).
That, my friend is how you take down Kobe Bryant.
By West Lamy
Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest NBA player of all time, and Kobe Bryant’s game mirrored the assassin mentality that MJ has been known to have. The stage was set for Kobe to share the spotlight with MJ by leading his team back from a 0-3 series deficit. Bryant couldn’t bail his club out. He made only 1 of 5 shots in the 2nd period and had two turnovers.
Kobe, like Jordan, is able to raise his game in big moments, but not this time around. In game four’s 122-86 loss to the Mavericks; Bryant finished 7-of-18 for 17 points. Shannon Brown was Los Angeles’ next-best scorer with 15. Gasol’s lost postseason continued; he had 10 points and eight rebounds. Kobe and the Lakers blew big, late leads in Games 1 and 3.
Kobe took only seven shots inside of 5 feet in the series, making two. It was his fewest attempts and makes from that range in a series of the last four. This is all happening on the 20th anniversary of Michael leading the Chicago Bulls to their first NBA ring under Phil Jackson.
Kobe has stated, “I want to be the best and to be the best you have to win and that is what drives me.” If MJ was on a team with:
the league’s highest payroll, the winningest championship coach in NBA history in Phil Jackson (well, actually he did have that), a perennial All-Star in Paul Gasol, a young big man in Andrew Bynum, a defensive dynamo in Ron Artest and a Sixth Man of the Year in Lamar Odom.
How can you not win, and defend a three peat? Kobe’s killer instinct, the way he picks his spots, keeps his teammates involved and put teams away was non-existent.
Phil Jackson walked off the court in shock, like the rest of the nation, as HIS team didn’t win; they were crushed.
And he wasn’t just heading to the off-season — he’s calling it a career, ending the most successful run by any coach in NBA history. “It’s been a wonderful run,” Jackson said. He goes out with the sour taste of his first sweep in 21 postseasons. A Hall of Famer since 2007, he leaves with a record 11 titles, and only 10 series losses.
“I grew up under him,” Bryant said. “The way I approach things, the way I think about things — not only basketball, life in general — comes from him. It’s a little weird for me to think of what next year is going to be like.” Teams trailing 0-3 are now 0-99 in NBA playoff history. The Lakers are the 60th to get swept.
Kobe was drafted out of high school; the tournament brackets were not for him. At age 32, with more than 40,000 minutes played on those legs of his, is he still a top-five player in the league?
The “Black Mamba” is owed more than $83.5 million over the next three seasons. Does he still have the explosiveness that made him so lethal for so long after just 19 of his 83 shot attempts against the Mavericks came from inside 10 feet from the rim?
Michael Jordan is the only superstar who routinely gets described like Hannibal Lecter. After this defeat and exit the Lambs will not be silent on how great he is when compared to Jordan. It is fair to say Kobe is the first and last prototype model of His Airness.Follow paulmbanks