Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Negative Effect of Kobe's 81 Points


Last Sunday the Lakers KOBE BRYANT did something I never thought would happen again the NBA. He scored 81 points in the Lakers victory over the Toronto Raptors. It was the second most points scored in a game by a single individual, trailing only WILT CHAMBERLAIN’S 100-point night in 1962.

Bryant’s performance was a stunning display of precision shooting from long-range, aggressive driving to the hoop, and it was further evidence that he is the most difficult player to defend since MICHAEL JORDAN in his prime. Bryant, the leading scorer in the NBA at 35.9 PPG, has become the favorite to win his first league MVP this season and may carry his team on his back into the play-offs. But is it possible that Bryant’s 81-point game could have negative effects? Yes, and here is why:

- The Lakers are still just 22-19, third place in the Pacific division. Bryant isn’t the reason they haven’t struggled this year. The problem has been the lack of support from all of Bryant’s teammates. Too often, the Lakers stand around watching Bryant shoot. On Sunday they stood around and watched him shoot 46 times from the field and 20 times from the free-throw line. This has become a dreadful habit for the Lakers, and one that will not be fixed by Bryant trying to break scoring records. They are just average with him scoring over 35 points a game, they had better hope that he doesn’t decide he needs to score more by himself for them to win.

- The Toronto Raptors should be ashamed. There is no excuse for allowing any player to humiliate you that way. The Lakers will not find another team with such a disturbing lack of pride. Kobe, however, has always been confident and the 81-point game will just encourage him to continue shooting without regard to the defense he is facing or his own team’s offensive plans. Expect to see horrendous shooting nights from him in the near future.

- But Kobe isn’t the only egomaniac in the Lakers organization. Coach PHIL JACKSON believes that he is just as important to his team’s success as any one player. He has sold his beloved triangle offense to the basketball community since his first title in Chicago. It surely twists his stomach every time Bryant ignores his teammates, and his coach, to take 35-foot jumpers while being defended by two or three men. The Lakers simply aren’t winning enough for Jackson to allow Bryant to play so selfishly and another power struggle between the selfish coach and the selfish player is inevitable. FYI: Kobe won the last power struggle with Jackson (and with SHAQUILLE O’NEAL.)

- If Kobe continues to play this way he will end the season with an absurd scoring average and a losing record. Defenses in the NBA are too sophisticated (Toronto excluded) for a team with just one scoring threat to succeed against them. There is an ALLEN IVERSON defense that teams subscribe to. That is, no one player will outscore your five. Even if Kobe scores fifty points, but the rest of the Lakers starting line-up is held to 25 or 30 points collectively, they will lose. That is a real possibility for them the rest of this season. But, this trend is very difficult to break because Kobe has so little belief in his teammates. The further they fall behind the more he shoots, and the problem grows worse as the score gets closer.

And so, we can all agree that the 81-point game was a work of art, a thing of beauty, a memory that we can all share. Nobody is questioning the magnitude of this single-game achievement by Kobe Bryant, but the NBA plays 82 games in a season and a win counts the same whether your star scores 21 points or 81 points. The Lakers needed to share the ball more even before Bryant fired up 46 shots. The hard part for the Lakers now is to move on and fix their problems while hoping that Bryant can control his urges.

3 comments:

  1. OMG...OK FIRST OF ALL KOBE CAN'T HELP IT IF HE IS GOOD..SECOND IF HE TEAMMATES WANTED TO SCORED THEY NEED TO STEP UP,BUT IT LOOKS LIKE THEY WANT KOBE TO DO EVERYTHING SO HE DOES.SO IN COMMENT TO THAT I THINK KOBE CAN CONTINUE TO SCORE AND SHOW EVERYBODY THAT THE LAKERS IS NOTHING WITH OUT KOBE BRYANT.HE DON'T NEED SHAQ ALL HE NEED IS HIS MIND AND PROUD.

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  2. Dear Dacia,

    I will forgive your abuse of the rules of grammar and thank you for your contribution. Your opinion is always respected here and I hope that you will visit again.

    ~ Rob W.

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