Wow, what that guy ever focused, or what? He was a man on a mission, and that mission was: to reassert my dominance on a small market team. For those of you who didn’t watch the game let me cut to the chase: the mission was successful. The Lakers are up 3-1, and now on the verge of closing out the series at home in LA. (Like so many people, myself included, predicted) Utah fought hard for the first half, but their offense fell off in the 2nd and could not keep up with the Kobe juggernaut.
Bench guys stepped up for the Lakers as well, while Utah looked disjointed all game long. Utah took it willingly by not playing physical or running their sets. It reminded me a lot of the Game 4 in the Western Conference Finals two seasons ago when the Jazz were manhandled at home by the Spurs. Utah then, and last night, would go inside and after getting fouled look to the refs for a call instead of making shots. Sure, there were some bad calls (and an even worse broadcast crew, dude, I think that Doris girl just did a Lewinski on Kobe at halftime) – but it’s the playoffs. You have to have the mental fortitude to play through that and force it down their throats.
Only Deron and Boozer seemed to understand that during parts of the game – and they both shot poorly compared to what they are capable of. The third best player was AK, and he didn’t get enough burn. Brewer had to go to a burn ward after the game because Kobe took it personal. Memo played his first game in weeks, and looked incapable of locating and locking on someone in transition defense. The Lakers were good on the break last game (something they didn’t capitalize on in game 3) and made the Jazz pay. Memo looked all out of it, his rust showed.
Sadly, this could have been Hot Rod’s last year behind the mic, and last game for his career. Sad that it ends in a loss.
Lakers look determined and strong. Utah looks unfocused and afraid. Looks like that thorn in the Lion’s paw only served to wake the lion up, and not be a hindrance at all.
Bravo Kobe, you had an amazing scoring game – and you did what you had to do to bounce back from a poor shooting night. This is exactly what you want from your team leader.
P.S. Bynum and Gasol have not impressed me at all in this series. If Kobe is going to get a ring this year, he’s going to need something from those two.