I’m sure by now you’ve heard the story of Kobe’s late-night shoot around after the Lakers lost to the Heat. You couldn’t have possibly missed the tweets, the pictures, videos or the chatter. It even received 24/7 news coverage from ESPN, from Stuart Scott’s endorsement to ticker headliners and all the PR spin they could pack in between. Kobe stole the show last night as his legend rose from the ashes of defeat to drown out the shine of Miami’s feeble flame. This isn’t about the loss or extra practice or how Kobe is as hard on himself as his critics; this was Kobe embracing the opportunity to win the other game of basketball.
Kobe went ballistic to start the Miami game, hitting his first four shots. That was both a gift and a curse. L.A. raced out to an early lead but Kobe had flicked on his mental green light. This game was about to turn into the bar scene from Desperado and Kobe was carrying the leaded guitar case.
Only, he was shooting blanks.
Kobe finished out the game with 24 points on 8 of 21 shooting. He managed to score just six points in the final five minutes on 2 for 6 shooting to “klose” out the game. Every single one of his shots long and difficult threes, most of them coming much too early in the shot clock. A lot of the credit on Kobe’s misses has to be given to Dwyane Wade for his masterful defense, but Kobe was stuck in hero mode and was determined to go down shooting. When he finally did drive, he tried to force the issue, going 1-on-2 against LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The result? Two turnovers.