Okay, the first time it happened it was a little weird, but now it's flat-out creepy.
I say the Lakers are better without Kobe, they go out and lose to the Celtics at home that very day.
In the same post, I also say Kobe is a one-dimensional player, and when his shooting is off he gives you very little. Apparently the Black Mamba made it his personal mission in life to prove me wrong.
The Lakers beat the Nuggets in LA on Sunday 95-89. One thing you will notice is that Kobe shot 3-of-17 from the floor, and the Lakers still won. Generally if your best player shoots that poorly, you're going to lose, but not this time.
This time, Kobe realized his shot wasn't falling, and turned into a distributor, instead. In the second half, the Lakers started isolating Kobe on the right block and giving him the ball. Denver brought the double team, and Kobe found open teammates for easy shots, finishing the game with 12 assists.
This Youtube video shows what happened better than I can explain it.
If this was Kobe, if this is what he spent most of his career doing, I'd be a big fan.
As it is, we're all amazed by it because it shows a level of maturity and understanding that Kobe has more often than not failed to show in situations like these. The Kobe of five years ago, faced with a poor shooting night, keeps jacking shots up, even in the face of the double team, and the Lakers lose this game, ultimately losing ground to a surging Denver in the Western Conference standings.
And this is why I am a huge LeBron James fan. This guy is a uniquely talented scorer (30 points per game this season), almost to the level Kobe is. But what makes him great is his court vision, his ability to see the open teammate, and then the unselfishness to make the pass. He's averaging 8.5 assists per game this season, and over 10 assists per game for the last month of play, and has won every Player of the Month awards for the NBA for the entire season so far.
LeBron has games like this every day, and that's why I'd take him over Kobe.
That said, I give big-time props to Kobe for doing what had to be done Sunday. If he can keep playing this way, the Lakers will be even scarier than they are, and I have no problem anointing them the 2010 NBA champs, even this early.
2 years ago