Where Damon Stoudamire gets his pot.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

State Trooper

Must say that I vehemently disagree with Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon's lauding of Kobe's 61 points at MSG as some kind of "statement" game now that Bynum, like last season, is on the fritz.

I agree with the fact that his performance was monumental and ranks with MSG's finest. But if I were the San Antonio Spurs - or any other Western squad looking to compete with a more vulnerable Lakers franchise - this is exactly what I want.

How were Kobe's other numbers? 3 assists and 0 rebounds. Hardly inspiring.

Kobe gets the benefit of the doubt since Odom and Gasol each pulled down 14 rebounds. But somebody else last night (and someone who wasn't in the Garden) pulled down one greater. It was Tim Duncan, who put up an impressive 32 points and 15 rebounds in a win over Golden State.

Maybe the Lakers simply didn't need Kobe's rebounding services. But I can tell you one thing - Odom and Gasol aren't pulling down that many against Duncan and Kurt Thomas.

And another thing: Kobe won't be getting 20 free throws against the San Antonio Spurs. He'll be lucky to exceed 12 on any night of a seven-game series. (Another note is that the Lakers were playing the New York Knicks who, while improved, are still one year removed from the Isiah Thomas-era.)

This is exactly the type of one-man basketball other teams want the Lakers to play. Remember the Lakers pre-Bynum-and-Gasol? Kobe had enough skill to will them into the playoffs, but when the Phoenix Suns had the Lakers for a best-of-seven series, they were able to expose how thin those teams were.

I'm not saying the Lakers are nearly as thin as those squads from a few years back, but a one-man Lakers attack can't possibly be seen as a good approach from a highly-talented team most successful when players aside from Kobe can alleviate his pressure by assuming a more integral role in production.

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