“He looks determined without being ruthless. Something heroic in his manner. There’s a courage about him, he doesn’t look like a killer. He comes across so calm, acts like he has a dream. Full of passion.”
“You don’t trust me, huh?”
“Well, you know why.”
“I do. We’re not supposed to trust anyone in our profession anyway.”
What up, yo. Time is runnin’ out.
AP–“It was really embarrassing to come in here and lose such an important game the way we lost it,” Odom said. “…We need to think about some things as a team. It’s kind of sad, but I don’t know that we’re as close as a team right now as far as camaraderie and things like that. That’s the only way you lose games like this — when you’re not close.”
Bryant downplayed the impact of losing by such a large margin.
“In the playoffs, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “It’s a loss, either way you cut it.”
As an unabashed member of Laker Nation, I currently find myself unable wade in the shallow waters of ‘the right way’. I’m incapable of concealing my feelings for the Purple and Gold, and any attempts to marginalize them to project a sense of even-handedness are half-hearted and ultimately counterproductive. You’re not here for that, and neither am I. Right now, I’m not a sportswriter, or even an aspiring one. I’m a fan. Fans pick a side and stay there.
That being said, we’re fucked.
As hard as it was to watch, there was a hint of foreshadowing in the fourth quarter of last night’s game. (I took around three quarters worth of notes, but I don’t have the stomach to go through the autopsy right now, and I doubt anyone wants to relive such bloodshed. Except Suns fans, and well, fuck them.) Kobe Bryant, the same player accused of tanking last year’s Game 7, left the bench to subject himself to more ridicule-and a twisted ankle. What was he doing in the game? Maybe trying to develop some synergy amongst his teammates and give them something to build on for Game 3. He certainly wasn’t going to sit there and watch. After subsequently leaving the game for treatment, the Lakers plodded on. Phoenix’s entire rotation had been taken out of the game and replaced with the likes of Marcus Banks, Jalen Rose, Eric Piatowski, and Pat Burke. The Lakeshow countered with Shammond Williams, Sasha Vujacic, Mo Evans, Brian Cook and Andrew Bynum.
As a team trailing by upwards of twenty points-and one healthy star- in the fourth quarter of a Game 2, it seemed L.A. should’ve conceded the inevitable and gone to their garbage players too. Except those are the Lakers garbage players. Seriously, there are no lower men on the roster. And these are some of the same guys who have been playing all year, and will be logging significant minutes for the rest of this series.
Half-assed crews get demolished and bruised.
As Phil and Lamar were getting lifted in the staircases after the game, Kobe was left to simmer and contemplate his latest nickname. The incarcerated Scarface.
As a certified Kobeologist, I’ve blessed him with an assortment of aliases, (Anakin Skywalker, for obvious reasons. The Prince, for his eternal second banana status, Machiavellian image- and similarities to Pac, a.k.a Makaveli-another talented soul who tried too hard to be someone he’s not. There’s more, but don’t get me rambling…) however this one is probably the most appropriate given the circumstances.
As any self assured, goal oriented, immigrant would, Kobe’s natural inclinations when cornered are to go down swinging. No surrender, no retreat. Long ago, his focus on a dream materialized into a red beam willing to take out anyone in front of it. That focus is legendary, but hazardously singular. But isn’t that Kobe’s current dilemma, that he’s all alone? He has a definitive legacy to consider and needs to win, yet he’s surrounded by neophytes and ne’er do wells with nothing to lose. Yo, they be foldin’ like envelopes under pressure, like Lou Ferigno on coke. Compounding his problems are a considerable phalanx of character assasins, a rabid media, ready to pounce on him whenever his shot totals exceed their comfort.
As we all know, through a well published-and well spun-series of events, about four years ago Kobe was essentially branded as a villain. The bad guy. A man high on a power trip, considerate of no one and respectful of nothing. He either shoots too much, or his achievements are belittled by a lack of resulting postseason success. He is in an inescapable situation, taking shots from all angles and unable to fire back. He has been shackled, or incarcerated if you will. Six shots in the last three quarters of Game 2.
As the media continues to ignore the hypocrisy of craving team play in a star driven league-and from a star with no team at that-from the agendaless perspective of a fan, I can see quite clearly. This team may fall, but not without a fight, especially from the only man who will be held accountable. Kobe is about to explode.
As the countdown to Game 3 passes, he thinks of LBJ, Nash, Dirk and others who will be showered with the praise of May. Kobe will pause and say to himself, “You’re all a bunch of fucking assholes. You know why? You don’t have the guts to be who you wanna be. You need people like me so you can point your fucking fingers and say ‘That’s the bad guy.’ So what does that make you? Good? You’re not good, you just know how to hide. Me? I don’t have that problem. I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say goodnight to the bad guy! It’s the last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, I tell you…”
Michael Jordan’s playoff record of 63 points will fall before this series is over.
I seen it. Like a 27 inch Zenith. Believe it.