Somehow the best player in the game isn’t even being talked about.
Kobe Bryant scored the loudest yet most subtle and quiet 40 points you’ll ever see in an NBA playoff game. No need for Bryant to yell aloud that nobody can check him, his game did all the talking.
Prior to the first clash in the Western Conference Finals, the talk centered on the lone advantage the Suns had in the series – the bench. Of course there is this tiny matter of defending the best scorer in basketball history too.
Bryant sent a clear message to the world that the road to a ring ceremony in October still runs through Los Angeles.
Too bad for Phoenix that the routes to Staples Center have all been dead end roads this season; three games in the Downtown Hoop Dojo, three Phoenix losses by an average of 19 points and the reality of Phil Jackson’s perfect record when leading 1-0 in any series.
Too soon to call checkmate?
It’s not too soon if Lamar Odom is putting 19 and 19 in the boxscore off the bench and the Suns are -23 with Amar’e Stoudemire on the floor. Those numbers equaled a 128-107 highlight fest for the Lake Show.
So much for that improved Phoenix defense under Alvin Gentry. The former Clipper coach has become accustomed to being destroyed in Staples Center. The Lakers set the nets on fire shooting 58% as a team.
When asked his thoughts on LeBron’s second consecutive premature exit from the playoffs, Bryant responded by simply saying, “I just want another cookie”. A subtle yet overtly hostile shot at the puppet in Cleveland delivered in the most honest and classy way.
The so-called “King” might haven been caught with his hand in the jar again, but all that’s done is set the stage for KB24 and the Lake Show to sneak in and keep the title in Tinsel Town. Of Kobe’s game high 40 points, 21 came in a potentially series ending (yeah, I said it!) third quarter when Black Mamba delivered the death touch to game one.