Also known as "Kobe vs. Inevitability." Kobe is sweet in the lane I'll give you that. But after watching T-Mac slice through Jazz the other night, I am going to have to say he is the most graceful, prettiest finisher in the NBA... then again T-Mac is always settling for fade away 3's and rarely driving so...
This game is over already. 11-0 Suns, 4 different players have scored, they've hit a three, Stoudamire has a transition alley-oop dunk and Kobe has yet to register an FGA. Quick 20 second time out from Phil. Hey, that's better than last game, Phillip.
Kwame Brown is a joke. He demands more post touches, so far he's 0-2 with two attempts that he might as well have been earing a skirt for and a turnover. Go throw some cake, Kwame.
And Kobe is on the board! He hits a sweet fall away J from the foul line. Now do that 47 more times.
Oh yes. Yes. Kobe hits a tough runner/pull up over Bell again. 11-4, PHX.
Kwame gets to the foul line on a bail out call, but his attempt at a three point play was, um...unskilled. I don't know why I despise him so much; I think it is because he reminds me of a big kid I played with in college who was just a complete was of talent and a total prick to top it off. He was the kind of kid who would throw a cake at some dude, too.
Bell finds Nash to finish of a 4-1 fast break. 15-6. I'n not even typing PHX anymore. When you see a score, just assume PHX is the higher number.
Hey I just noticed Kurt Thomas in the starting line up. This is different, right?
Kwame blows another chance at a three point play. What a skirt.
Kurt Thomas is on fire. 2-3. Never mind that his one miss nearly cracked the backboard. The other two were as pure as a shot can be from someone who is channelling Bill Cartwright's jumper. 19-7 as we head into commercial.
You know, Kobe is letting me down. I hope this isn't Prove a Point Kobe. I like I Am Going to Score Every Time I Touch It Kobe. He's much better. Does anyone - Kobe, fans, Phil - think that Kwame flailing to the basket or Lamar missing nine striaght point blank layups is better offense that a triple teamed Kobe shooting a fadeaway from the corner? I'll take Kobe shooting left handed over anyone else wearing purple and gold.
Wow. Craig Sager has footage of a police chase that delayed Odom getting to the stadium. The cop car spun out some half naked jackass in a car that looked like it belonged in a "Life Comes at You Quickly Commercial." Speaking of Odom, he cuts it to 10 - and Farmer with a steal in the back court!
That's is actually bad...the Lakers fail to capitalize and Nash is no going to destroy Farmar for the next two minutes.
Ooooh. Farmer tried posting up Nash and Nash just jacked him in the back when he tried to shoot. I'm telling you: Nash will be at the rim on the Suns next possession. He does not enjoy Farmar at all. Wow, Nash with a turnover. This is just weird.
Holy Hell. Kobe with a ludacris baseline, reverse, hang forever lay up. Unreal. He released the ball on his way down, when he was no more than two inches from hitting the ground. Just do that every time! Of course, Barbosa answers with a three and Odom misses another shot from point blank. He is the anti-finisher; it is like he is allergic to paint.
27-14 after Marion hits the first pull up jump shot of his life. Another non-Kobe shot for the Lakers. Barbosa with another 3. Sweet Jeebus, LA. Two more non-Kobe shots. If you play for the Lakers, you have to have a pretty large pair of cajones shooting the ball. How do you look Kobe in the eye after shooting? Just give him the damn ball!
Shammond Williams checks in. A few things here: Shammond Williams! Alright, the more UNC alums in this game, the better. (Kobe drills a 3 from the corner!) Second, he has taken the roster spot of a "very healthy Radmonic," according to Doug Collins. (Bynum pulls a Kwame and blows a chance to finish when fouled. Good God, the Laker bigs are soft. I see a Charmin endorsement in their future.) So Vlad Rad can play, and he's a healthy scratch? Man, Phil must really hate him. No books for Vlad this summer.
End of 1. PHX has a lot, LA doesn't. Back after the break.
Shammond Williams is still in. Smush Parker seems to care on the sideline (that was sarcastic). 31-19.
Doug Collins says Diaw should take Brian Cook off the dribble after Diaw turns it over. I agree: Kurt Thomas beat Brian Cook off the dribble two plays ago for God's sake.
Odom misses another lay-up. Hey, he is relentless, I'll give him that. There is a fine line between being relentless and being stupid, though.
Kobe has been on the bench for a while...what happened to 48 minutes of Kobe!?!? I was promised 48 minutes of Kobe. I want my money back.
Odom knocks down a J. Makes perfect sense. Lake Show is making a little run with Kobe on the bench, they have it within 9, 35-26.
Advice from Dyan Cannon: "I think they should hope and pray." Amazingly, that is the best advice I can possibly think of. Praying should be prominently involved in all Laker game plans. Write that down, Phil - you aren't really doing anything else.
No, whistling doesn't count.
Kobe or Nash haven't been in the game for, like, a really long time. Seriously, I want my money back. I didn't tune in for Boris Diaw vs. Brain Cook, as exciting as that has been.
Craig Sager with the obligatory Triangle Offense and how does Kobe fit into it argument. I can not begin to tell you how sick of all this shit I am. Just give Kobe the ball, everyone else get out of the way, and see if he can win the game by himself. There's your offense.
Tex Winter looks like he should be slugging gulps striaght from a bottle of Jack Daniels, by the way.
Nash and Kobe are in!
Aaaaand Kobe just crossed Shawn Marion over, made him fall, and then hammered it. Hey, um, Shawn? Don't bring that up the next time you feel unappreciated. That was disgusting.
Challenge: come up with a worse playoff back court than Shammond Williams and Smush Parker. How can you play these guys at the same time?
Oh, Kobe with another gorgeous drive and finish. 13 points on 6/8 shooting. As well as he's playing, that needs to be doubled right now. 38-33.
Nash passes to Amare who hits a wide open J. It seems like Nash just throws it to wide open people all the time. Who was guarding him? Nash didn't even make an attempt to penetrate, he just threw it to him and he was open. I don't get it.
Much like this live blog, PHX seems out of sync and disjointed. Timeout for everyone as we try to regroup and get our shit together.
Bryant drives and fins Odom, who, unsurprisingly misses a lay up.
Shammond Williams forces a turnover from Meep Meep and finds Kobe for a three-point play in transition. Man, can Kobe finish. No wonder Lamar hates him.
Odom scores in the paint! Lakers within 4! I don't know which is more shocking.
Oh, wow. Kobe drives again, takes the contact, but Nash took a charge. I hope that doesn't deter Kobe...it doesn't! He hits a pull up in transition. Lakers with in 2. Kobe in transition again...! Damn, he passed. He was doing the MJ through the legs vs. Larry Bird thing, he got me all excited. And of course Smush screws everything up. I am incredibly frustrated, and I don't even like the Lakers. I don't know how Kobe put up with this shit for 82+ games.
2 minutes left, Lakers with in 5, 47-42. I have this theory that the best teams close out periods better than crappy teams. Let's see who finishes this half the best.
Odom with a put back. That's two lay ups in a row for Lamar. Gulp.
Amare answers with a pull up. His J is a lot more wet than I thought it was.
Kwame misses two, arguably three shots on one possession. What a flippin' skirt. Kurt Thomas knocks down a J to push the lead out to 6. LA should have the last shot of the half here.
Odom swishes a three off a Kobe drive. Very nice. So, under my theory, LA should win this game. We shall see. Frankly, I am thrilled this is so close.
Craig Sager is asking Amare how the Lakers were able to come back. Allow me: because Kobe went off. Got that, Sags? Write it down.
Lakers within 3 at the half. Back after the break.
Can we make Cassell a permanent part of Inside the NBA? He is terrific: "Kobe isn't Michael Jordan, but he ain't Harold Miner, either." Preach, Sam I Am, preach!
Nash hasn't played particularly well since that opening 11-0 run...if he doesn't get things going, the Lakers can win this game.Actually, no one has played really well for the Suns, and Doug Collins has done an excellent job articulating why, in my opinion. I am enjoying Doug Collins during this broadcast. Maybe it is because he isn't screaming at me.
I always wonders what happens after his parter Kevin Harlan just loses his mind and screams some nonsensical phrase like "Flight 31 is cleared for take off!" What does Collins do in the next five seconds? Just act like he didn't hear him? Roll his eyes? Involuntarily piss himself? I wish they would show this.
Luke Walton ties it at 53 with a trey. Shit, I didn't even know he was playing tonight.
James Jones unties it. No one else things he looks like a grown up version of that kid who used to say "Wut you talkin' 'bout, Willis?" Anyone?
This is one of the most awkward games of the playoffs. Nash hasn't asserted himself at all.
LA fans are cheering "MVP! MVP!" Nash should hold up two fingers right now. Or at least kiss his biceps again.
(How on God's green earth did Craig Sager win an Emmy? Are we sure it wasn't made of chocolate?)
You know what Steve Nash has brought into style? Leaving your feet to make a pass. He just drives, jumps, and then hangs as long as he can to find someone, usually with a crazy-angle bounce pass. Grade school coaches every where must cringe.
Nash just did that thing where he drives and you think he is going to take one more dribble before going into his lay up motion but just keeps going and ends up shooting a lay up with one hand while not jumping. Doug Collins: "Degree of difficulty? About a 10." I agree. He must have bigger hands than Kwame Brown.
McDonald's slogan is "I'm Loving It." I remember when they changed it, thinking how stupid it was to change a slogan everyone knew. And know I can't remember what their old slogan was. Anyone remember? Anyone? Bueller?
Kobe just scored on all five of the Suns. That's not a joke nor an exaggeration. All five had a chance to stop him, all five failed. Tell me why this is a bad strategy again? His three point play has LA up by 2, 61-59.
Farmar strips Nash's J attempt to force a shot clock violation. Farmar is playing surprisingly well against the two time MVP. Of course, LA blows it when Kwame misses a lazy fade away from two feet away. PHX scores at the other end while Kwame "writhes in pain at the other end." Must have gotten a little sand in the ol' box. Just rinse it out, Kwame, you'll be OK.
Kwame hammers one, guess he's OK. I love when guys lay there like they are dead, and then are fine two minutes later. This is like soccer guys flopping. Drives me nuts.
Lakers up two after Kwame's second dunk in a row. Barbosa misses another three. The Suns are really blowing right now.
I could watch Kobe drive all day. He is the prettiest finisher in the NBA. It is especially jarring after watching Lamar and Kwame gracelessly fire brick after brick from a foot away. What a finish he just had: drives baseline with his right hand, gets cut off, spins back middle and scoops it under the D with his right hand. Beautiful.
Alright, let's address this: Kwame has scored on like the last 5 possessions. But they have all been dunks. Wide open dunks because the D is obsessed with Kobe. Anyone could do what he is doing right now. He is taking advantage of Kobe getting him wide open and Amare being in foul trouble. Basically, he just isn't fucking up. Any time a defender has been within a foot of him or made any type of effort to stop him, he has failed with flying colors. When you read that Kwame had his best playoff game ever tomorrow, take it with a grain of salt. In fact, take it with a pound of salt.
Lakers are up 6. I'd like to say they are playing a hell of a game, but it really isn't the case. This is all about Phoenix. There is just no rhythm, no semblance of an offense. I'm with my man Doug Collins: after they got off to that huge start, they coasted. Now, they can't get it back. Nash should get it going in the fourth, though - he always plays his best as the end of the game. Of course, if it stays close, LA has the best closer in the L. This is shaping up to be a terrific finish.
Bean's shot rims out to end the third quarter, but Barbosa travels with .1 left on the clock. The Lakers try to inbound, but the score keeper screws up the horn. Doug Collins, without missing a beat: "That was the score keeper from Munich! I was wondering where he went." Have I said I'm enjoying Doug Collins tonight?
Lakers up 74-70 after the third. Ending should be a good one.
And the first comment ever during a Point 23 live blog. Everyone, remember where you were. I know I always will.
It is definitely a two-man contest between T Mac and Kobe for prettiest finisher. T Mac had some gorgeous finishes against the Jazz, no doubt. I think after watching all the Kobettes around the rim, it is just so jarring seeing Kobe doing the things he does around the rim. What makes T Mac so pretty is that he looks like he isn't even trying; it is so effortless. Great debate, though.
Kobe is sweet in the lane I'll give you that. But after watching T-Mac slice through Jazz the other night, I am going to have to say he is the most graceful, prettiest finisher in the NBA... then again T-Mac is always settling for fade away 3's and rarely driving so...
Barbosa is starting to get aggressive. He's not screwin' around. My question: where the hell is Steve Nash? Where are those pin point pick and roll passes? I can't believe the Smush/Shammond duo is doing tis kind of of job on Nash. Speaking of Nash, he just threw a jump pass right to Kobe, who had another pretty finish in transition.
Kobe is going to break the NBA record for Times Dribbled Through Legs.
It took me a while, but the reason Nash isn't getting those pick and roll passes is because they are switching the ball screens. Well, then, why is he settling for long jumpers instead of beating the big stiff off the dribble and then finding guys when the help comes? I think he should do that. Lakers still with a slim lead.
I am curious to see him run the Suns offense once Nash retires. He is faster than Nash, sure, so the tempo won't change, but his vision and passing isn't even close. Wonder if his insane speed can make up for his passing ability?
Kobe gets to the rim again. My God, fellas, whoever is guarding Smush can double team him, you know that? I mean, he'll probably still score, but at least make him work for it. Smush is useless.
This is really shaping up. First buzzer beater of the Second Season? I think so.
Shammond Williams inexplicably jacks a contested college three. Luckily the Suns are playing horrendously and they can't capitalize.
Ooooh, Barbosa with a heck of a 3 from the corner to tie it. Odom answers with a score in the paint. He sure is getting better at that, isn't he?
I'm not entirely sure Shammond knows why he is out there. That isn't Dean Smith on the sidelines, my man. Play good defense and pass the ball to Kobe. No more wild shots. Actually, no more shots, period.
I think the Laker fans need to come up with some more lame chants. They sound like a pathetic high school student cheering section.
Kobe. So pretty. He's art, really. That's what he is. A gorgeous J to push it to 5, then Kobe gets fouled and makes both to push it to 7. 20 ticks left. Gonna need a miracle, PHX.
Here is the immatury and idiocy of Smush Parker on full display for the world to see. Phoenix jacks up a bad shot, misses, Lamar guns it to the other end and Smush just happens to run under it. There is two seconds left; all he has to do is dribble once or twice and the game is over. Instead, he tried to go in for a hard dunk, Raja Bell hits him with a hard foul, and D'Antoni is pissed.
So now, instead of PHX just thinking they played bad and have to bounce back, they now have the image of Smush Parker being a classless jackass right in front of their bench, trying to rub it in. I would have cut him yesterday.
So LA gets a game and makes it a series, 2-1. Coming in, I wanted to see Kobe take on the Suns. Kobe pretty much lived up to my expectations, but the Suns played one of their worst games of the season. If they play even a little better in Game 4, PHX can wrap it up on their home court. If not, this series might go a little longer than everyone expected.
And props to Iverson4MVP. You are the MVP.