You have to hand it to Kobe Bean, he’s a big game hunter. We haven’t seen him unleash the mamba in a game like that in a while. He scored every which way a player can out there. Lefty runner, step back three pointers, post up fadeaways, alleyhoops, and powerful drive a dunks. It looked like he was channeling one of those classic Bird / Wilkins duels from the ’80s and playing both roles at the same time. He scored 42 points on 33 shots, and that percentage could have been a lot better. The refs were really letting both teams play with a lot of contact. The perimeter d had a decidedly ’90s feel to it.
If you had tickets to the game tonight you had to be one happy Thunder fan. You got to see a classic Kobe Bryant performance and advance to the Western Conference Finals at the same time. And judging by the noise those fans made, that’s exactly what happened. That has to be the loudest arena of any playoff team this year. Good for them! Hopefully Scotty Brooks isn’t entirely overmatched by Greg Popavich. Pop has the Spurs humming along as well as any team offense I can remember watching with the one exception being the Showtime Lakers. San Antonio has this mix read / motion offense that frees up Tony and Timmy to play weakside pick and roll when the ball swings back to them. Their system make perfect use of roll players, and they have a healthy Manu to provide a wild card. Good luck young bucks!
LA meanwhile has some decisions to make. Do they bring this group back and hope they can develop better synergy with a full training camp and full 82 game season together? Do they try to trade Bynum for Dwight? Do they buy out Artest and try to get younger on the wing? Do they turn Gasol into a couple of more athletic pieces? They have no first round draft pick (I believe they lost that in the Sessions deal). Their bench needs a lot of help. Kobe doesn’t need to play these monster minutes on his German witchdoctor knees. Not sure Mike Brown is the long-term answer at coach. Pretty sure Sessions isn’t the long-term answer at starting point guard. Mitch Kupcheck is in a tough spot this offseason.