Probably most important when discussing Kobe Bryant was his ability to snatch a victory away from the opponent. And it’s what made him unique from any other player in his era.
This is part 2 of my 5 part series, covering Kobe’s greatest buzzer beater in each jersey. If you missed Part 1: Greatest Dunk last week, click here to read it. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @cleanupglass, so I can update you on my next post, and give you my quick takes throughout the NBA season.
Kobe has accumulated a library of buzzer beaters, game winners, and lead changing shots over the course of his career. Even early in his career, wearing #8, it seems like when the lights were brightest, Kobe shined brighter. Ask the Suns, when Kobe hit the Game 2 game winner over Jason Kidd, to put the Lakers up 2-0 in the 2000 Western Conference Semi-finals. Or, even better, you could ask the Blazers, when Kobe hit not one, but two ridiculous 3-pointers to give the Lakers a regular season win, and the 2004 Pacific Division Championship. Two shots in one regular season game, what could be more clutch than that?
Continue reading “8 and 24: The Best of Both Worlds – Greatest Buzzer Beater (Part 2 of 5)”
Two retired jerseys for one player? It happened. Now that we’ve all come to terms with that, here is the first moment of five that defines the player in each number.
Kobe Bryant has not one, but two jerseys hanging from the rafters in Staples Center. By now, it’s too late for anyone to debate which jersey should be hanging if given the choice. And it’s even too late to debate which version of Kobe was best. You’ve read all of the stats, and they’re all very comparable: 16,866 points to 16,178, eight All-Stars to nine, three championships to two, zero MVP’s to one, zero Finals MVP’s to two… are you still there? I agree, it’s so boring. And the conclusion is always the same: #24 trumps #8. Yawn…
Allow me to unveil my arguments for 8 AND 24. As I stated earlier, there’s no point in arguing which number he was best in, as both jerseys proudly hang high in the stands (that is, until the Clippers play a home game. And since they can’t hide the shame they feel for their futility as a franchise, they’ll hide the Lakers successes). No matter what I say, nobody is going to climb back up there to take a jersey down because I happen to be right again. What my argument will decide is what should (not do, should) we remember most when we look up at those retired jerseys. From his Greatest Regular Season, to his Greatest Dunk, and even his Worst Moment, I guarantee nobody has a breakdown like this one.
Before I begin, I’d like to note that all stats in each part of this series were found, as always, at www.basketball-reference.com, unless sited otherwise.
Now, to begin the epic five part series (one for each ring), I present to you, my argument for:
Continue reading “8 and 24: The Best of Both Worlds – Greatest Dunk (Part 1 of 5)”
D’Angelo vs. Lonzo was what everyone wanted to see. A quick look at the stats and the conclusion is D’Angelo Russell got the better of his replacement in Lonzo Ball. Not so fast…
The date is October 31st, 2017. The Lakers have just defeated the Detroit Pistons 113-93. Lonzo Ball finishes with a stat line of 13 points, 3 assists, and 6 rebounds, hardly Rookie of the Year award worthy stats for the 2nd pick in the 2017 NBA draft. But Lonzo is all that anyone is talking about right now, so NBA TV elects to interview him after the game. Chris Webber asks the first question, where Lonzo is asked to elaborate on how great it is to have fulfilled his dream of playing basketball in the NBA. Isiah Thomas asks the next question, and while I’m paraphrasing the interview, Zeke acknowledges that many players in the league are so focused on their stats. Lonzo appears very comfortable not filling up the box score, so long as his team wins the game. Lonzo agrees, stating his father told him as a point guard, all that matters are wins and losses.
Continue reading “D’Angelo vs. Lonzo: Past vs. Present”
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have already laid the foundation for a change in the Los Angeles Lakers culture. Need proof? Look no further than additions of Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Last year, the Los Angeles Lakers met at home against the Washington Wizards. D’Angelo Russell was the leading scorer with 28 points on 10-21 shooting to go along with 6 rebounds and 9 assists. This is obviously a much better outing than what Lonzo Ball produced (6 points 2-11 shooting, 8 rebounds, 10 assists); however, a wise old man once asked me, “… But did they win?”
Continue reading “Culture Change in Los Angeles”
Recently, the NBA has promised to “crack down” on reckless closeouts and creating contact during shots. Commissioner Dan has a few ideas of his own.
A new NBA season is on the way, and with it, a season chock full of fantastic plays, broken records, and hopefully an NBA championship for your favorite team (if they happen to be the Warriors). But along with all these great things come a host of issues we’d love to forget. Each year, the NBA comes in with the same mentality: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Even in a financially lucrative sport like football (say what you will about Goodell), the sport is constantly trying to improve itself. Why is basketball so stagnant? It’s not like there isn’t an outcry for changes. What to do about watching a Clippers/Hornets game, where both teams put the opposing center to the line 40 times a game, in hopes they will be subbed out? How about eliminating teams the ability to stack themselves so high with talent, competition becomes obsolete? Commissioner Silver has so far avoided even a fraction of the scrutiny David Stern encountered during his reign, but that doesn’t dismiss the fact he has allowed these issues to fester in the minds of casual and hardcore hoops fans alike.
Introducing, Commissioner Dan. My resume speaks for itself. I’ve been watching professional basketball under a microscope for 20+ years, I own and operate a basketball blog, and I’ve already held the title of commissioner for my fantasy football league for 6 years running; Moreover, I’m not going to sit on my laurels and wait for you to tell me what’s wrong with the current state of the NBA. I already know the problems, and I pledge to resolve them, in three easy steps. Continue reading “Commissioner Dan’s “Three Step Solution””
So we already know who this year’s MVP is? Think again. Harden and Westbrook are squaring off in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, and there is more on the line than simply their playoff dreams. Ask Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.
“Kobe Bryant, won the game. And the Los Angeles Lakers were up three games to one.” Kevin Harlan tells the television audience during a break in another great playoff series for the ages.
The 7th seeded Los Angeles Lakers were up three games to two against the heavily favored 2nd seeded Phoenix Suns. Kevin is simply describing the last time Kobe was up to his usual heroics, leading his team to another victory. Dragging the lesser sum of his teammates another step further than anyone dared possible. In L.A.’s last home game, Kobe had hit the shot in regulation to send the game to overtime, and then later the overtime game-winner, putting his team in a commanding 3-1 series lead. Before the break, Kobe had just hit a three-pointer, giving his Lakers a 103-102 advantage in the closing seconds of a series clinching Game 6. The Suns gave the Lakers the ball back, this time a wide-open miss by Tim Thomas. With 42 seconds left in the game, the Lakers called timeout.
“This is the biggest possession, of the season, for the Phoenix Suns.” Says Doug Collins. Continue reading “MVP Showdown: 2006”
James Harden is in the MVP discussion, but it should come as no shock to anyone paying attention to the coaching history of one Mike D’Antoni.
When the Rockets hired Mike D’Antoni, no one would have asked you to stifle yourself if you snickered. He was only 2 years removed from the 2014 debacle in Los Angeles, when he coached the Lakers to a 27-55 record and out of the playoffs for the first time in 20 years (edit: Geez, that actually sounds pretty good now). Yup, all his fault. It didn’t matter that Kobe Bryant had only played 6 games or that Steve Nash had only played in 15, someone needed to be held responsible, and D’Antoni’s head was the one everyone wanted to roll.
That’s why when this season started, it was funny, to me anyways, hearing Laker fans and their supporters alike stating how “fun” the team was playing under first year coach Luke Walton. They were 10-10, the rookies were developing, and Nick Young pulled his best Walking Dead impression, coming back to life, when he seemed doomed to follow in the footsteps of Lamar Odom. He’s actually going to be in the 3-point contest this coming All Star Weekend.
But didn’t this team play a familiar style to anyone watching them? Perhaps not, the team has been almost unwatchable for years now. But to anyone that has hung around during these dark times to pay attention, they are actually mimicking the D’Antoni coached 2013-2014 Los Angeles Lakers. Look at the stats: Continue reading “Vitamin D”