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Kobe Bryant nails game-winner to get big win over… Raptors? PS: Don’t look at his line, go directly to count the rings.

Feb 12, 2012, 6:33 PM EDT

Lakers' Bryant smiles in overtime of their NBA basketball game against the Celtics at TD Garden in Boston Reuters

Here, look, we’ll split this post into two sides of the coin. The first part will be glass half-full, the second part will be glass half-empty.

Glass half-full: 

The Lakers recovered from early losses in their Grammy’s road trip to finish 3-3 with a win over the Raptors 94-92 Sunday. They were able to fend off a furious comeback by a very game and balanced Raptors squad who managed to take the lead inside a minute on a Jose Calderon pull-up jumper. But that special time is Kobe time as we all know and on his way to 27 points to lead the Lakers, Bryant got the ball and did what he does best. Be the clutchest son of a gun in all the land.

Like this:

Kobe. Bean. Bryant.

(OK, stop reading if you only like lollipops and gumdrops with your game recap, only care who got the win, and don’t care about efficiency, nuance, or context. Lakers win, Lakers win, Lakers win>)

Glass half-empty:

The once dominant, once invincible Los Angeles Lakers needed Kobe Bryant to his 9th shot out of 23 attempts in seconds remaining after gunning his team into losing the lead late Sunday in order to stave off a win from one of the worst teams in the league without their best player in Andrea Bargnani to make sure they finished 3-3 on their road trip.

Bryant was 9-23 and missed six straight shots in the 4th quarter, but did get excellent space on the game winner because Toronto for some reason did not think to hedge to the baseline where Bryant is absolutely deadly. Bryant also had 4 turnovers and missed a free throw late to give the Raptors a chance, which of course they blew by giving it to DeMar DeRozan instead of the en fuego Jose Calderon, because Bryant was blanketing him exceptionally well.

So to recap, the Lakers almost lost to one of the worst teams in the league because Kobe Bryant did not play well, but wound up winning because Kobe Bryant wound up playing well. Yup, everything’s fine in L.A..

Note: Who wants to talk about the five-seconds call?

  1. shockexchange - Feb 12, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    They should change this site to

  2. cinnalocks - Feb 12, 2012 at 7:19 PM


  3. progress2011 - Feb 12, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    9 of 23 !!!

    But the headline is ” kobe nails game winner ” .

    It should be ” kobe ” almost bricked his team out of another game !

    It amazes me, how the heck this ” ball hawk ” can shoot 23 friggin shots and then complain, that the big men are not pulling their weight.

    They are not getting regular touches and when they do, it’s sporadic and only because kobe was triple teamed and he decided he couldn’t get the shot off.

    This guy is a cancer to any team that believes in playing ” fundamental – team ” basketball.

    • lvthetruth - Feb 12, 2012 at 9:56 PM

      Truth: Kobe nails the game winning shot
      False: Kobe almost bricked his team out of another game

      If cancer will lead you to five championship, then most team would love to have
      this cancer.

      • david8726 - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:28 AM

        How can you say he DIDN’T almost brick his team out of the game when he missed 6 straight shots in the 4th? How does that not register with you?

        It’s one thing to be a fan and support your players. It’s another to blindly ignore facts because you want to believe Kobe can do no wrong.

      • cinnalocks - Feb 13, 2012 at 7:55 AM

        Tell the whole story. He hit a three that put them up, stole a pass and gave it up to MWP for a go ahead lay up. Got fouled and hit one of two from the line as well as hit this jumper from the corner. He shot too much. He ALWAYS has. He also hits them when they need a win, he has done it for years. As few good teammates (after the first 4 there is no one home) as he has a win is a win and they need wins anyway they can get them.

  4. tampajoey - Feb 12, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    That’s the difference between Kobe and Lebron right there in a nutshell.

    Kobe can have an “off” game and still come thru and be clutch at the end to win the game.

    And then there is Lebron, who can have a great fantasy basketball stat game for 3 quarters and then choke the game away in the 4th.

    (and now I’m sure we’ll hear a pro Lebron rebuttal from my “PBT Stalker” Mr. Peanut brain 1972wasalongtimeago)

    • rtlguru - Feb 12, 2012 at 8:10 PM

      You must not be watching alot of Laker games this season.

      “And then there is Lebron, who can have a great fantasy basketball stat game for 3 quarters and then choke the game away in the 4th.”

      This has been Kobe to a T this season as well as last year’s playoffs. Kobe has faded in almost all the games in the 4th this season. Yeah, he finally made a game winner(his first this season) but he’s been Lebron-like in the 4th all season.

      Perhaps you missed this nugget from an article this week:

      “In the clutch, defined as the last five minutes of a game with five points or less the difference in score, Kobe Bryant is just 13-46. His 28 percent shooting in the clutch is one of the worst in the league.

      For comparisons sake, LeBron is shooting 33 percent, Dwyane Wade is shooting 35 percent, and Chris Bosh is shooting 57 percent in the clutch, according to John Schuhmann of Overall, the league is shooting 42 percent in clutch time.”

      Kobe fans can live in the past, but at present, Kobe is comparable to Allen Iverson – leading scorer/chucker on a 500 team.

      • tampajoey - Feb 12, 2012 at 8:26 PM

        I didn’t base my comment on 25 games this season. I based it on Kobe Bryant’s career as one of the best clutch players in NBA history.

      • borderline1988 - Feb 12, 2012 at 9:40 PM


        I’d like to see the stats ‘based on Kobe Bryant’s career’ that would suggest he’s one of the best clutch players in NBA history.

        It’s a myth. It seems like he has so many game-winners, but that’s because he takes far more shots with the game on the line than anyone else. His actual ‘clutch’ shooting numbers are below average. Kobe fans seem to remember the makes but forget the misses. Compare him to Jordan…Jordan always seemed to be automatic in late-game situations. Kobe is more like 2/6 in late-game situations, where his big men bail him out with offensive rebounds or incredible defense at the other end.

        Sure, Kobe will go down as one of the greatest scorers in NBA history, but a career of pedestrian FG% numbers and reviews of any advanced metrics prove that he is and always was a volume shooter.

      • cinnalocks - Feb 13, 2012 at 8:03 AM

        Man you need to take your medicine and calm down. You sound bitter and angry. Despite how you feel or the Kobe who is gone. Kobe is still the guy Larry prefers to play with….not have played with but play with. Why because of the kind of attitude that is killer, wanna win and will do what it takes to get it done. D Wade I love… has one, LBJ and Bosh have none Kobe has 6 RINGS. Kobe though not what he once was is still better than 95% of the league 95% of the time. BTW they won.

      • loungefly74 - Feb 13, 2012 at 8:13 AM

        this is ridiculous. such a nitpicker. BTW, save the “moneyball stat lines” for the only sport that really applies to point is…kobe wins games for the Lakers. 5 rings in 11 years man. thats the end of the arguement. throw out whatever statistic you want to…but in the end, kobe will be remembered as one the greatest lakers of all time who won at least 5 rings for his team. the end.

        Damn…life is good…my team has won 5 Titles in the past 11 years. yeah!

      • mightyquinn69 - Feb 13, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        Yea, right! And how many rings does those guys have betwen them? Right! (1) vs (5). But I get your point…lol

    • david8726 - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:33 AM

      First of all, despite LeBron’s finals melt down, he does have a history of performing well in end of game situations. In both the Celtics and Bulls series last year, James was excellent at the end of games. And he has a strong resume of game winners and clutch performances with the Cavs too.

      Everyone wants to focus on his bad performance in the finals. And don’t get me wrong – his failure in the finals was huge and cannot be ignored. But it’s dishonest to say that he can’t or won’t perform well in clutch situations. Because he has in the past, and will no doubt do so again in the future.

      Second of all, someone who plays an all around game like LeBron is actually MORE LIKELY to help his team when he’s having a bad shooting night. When LeBron’s shot is off, he will still get you rebounds, assists, and all world defense. Kobe can do those things too, but in general he’s more focused on being a scorer.

  5. Off The Backboard - Feb 12, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Man, your hate just seeps through each word you write. I love your site (HP), but the condescending attitude towards those who like or respect Kobe needs to stop. Seriously – you come across unprofessional; someone who is bitter at the amount of attention Bryant receives.

    No one is saying that he didn’t have a bad game. Regardless, the Lakers won in the end. That is all that should matter in the greater context. Even if he had MISSED the game winning shot and they won off a Pau tip, I’d still be saying the same thing. This is not a NBA Fantasy league, where stats are the end-all be-all. A franchise player who’s been producing at this level for 16 (!) years deserves enough respect to not question his shot selection cause he shoots 23 times. Hell, most of Bryant’s looks in that 4Q stretch of 5 misses were GREAT looks (include easy close range shots), and you know it. I find it funny that you completely leave out Gasol’s horrendous shooting (though on much less shots) from your analysis and don’t criticize him for settling for 20-footers.

    I realize I’m rambling, but this kind of perspective from the media is irksome. I’m not singling you out because you are expressing your opinion, but because guys like you, Dwyer, and Abbott do it in a condescending, holier-than-thou manner.

  6. Off The Backboard - Feb 12, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    “This guy is a cancer to any team that believes in playing ” fundamental – team ” basketball.”

    Yes, the guy who was the center piece on 2 championship teams, and the 1A option on 3 more championship teams is a “cancer”. Never mind the fact that coaches and players praise him for his fundamental knowledge of the game of basketball. Do you actually watch the NBA, or just skim through it?

    • progress2011 - Feb 12, 2012 at 8:38 PM

      He is a cancer as Phil Jackson ( remember him ) explained in his book. Phil only came back because Jerry Buss gave him a key to the bank and his daughter.

      Remember all the future HOF players that have played with him, that have said that he is a ball hawk.

      Is it a coincidence, NONE of the premier guys that have left their teams have forced a trade to play with kobe ( D. Williams, CP3, Billups, Kenyon Martin ) ….no one is forcing their hand to play along side the cancer, including…….( wait for it )…..

      Dwight Howard !!!!

      No current elite player is willing to take a back seat to him, while he throws up 9 of 23 !!!

      • Off The Backboard - Feb 12, 2012 at 9:54 PM

        Again, not only did Phil come back, but they won 2 championships together, plus another Finals run in 08. Not to mention that the only reason Phil came back for 2010-2011 was because Kobe and Fish pushed for his return. Sounds like a cancer to me.

        As for your second point, Shaq calls him the “greatest Laker”. Gary Payton likewise thinks he’s one of the best to ever play the game. And that’s about all the future HOFers he’s played with. Malone loved him originally, but they grew distant due to his wife. Who else?

        Deron Williams was abruptly traded to the Nets. He didn’t have a say. CP3 was almost traded to the Lakers, if you recall. Who gives a crap about Billups or Martin? You’re just throwing names out there to throw in names.

      • loungefly74 - Feb 13, 2012 at 8:04 AM

        i remember phil, in the end, siding with kobe…yeah, 3 trips to the finals will do that.

        hate all you want man, doesn’t matter. laker fans love Kobe. as they should…5 rings in 11 years is a pretty good ratio. every single other NBA would would love to have that stat for their team.

        ..and its kinda pathetic just swarming to kobe’s shortcomings when they happen.

  7. glink123 - Feb 12, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    Lol. I’m a huge Bulls fan, way back to the pre-Jordan era, and I remember the same idiotic comments about how much MJ shot the ball. Like you’d rather have Dave Corzine or Brad Sellers taking 10 shots per game? Who is Kobe gonna pass to, MWP? Lol. Luke Walton? He’s got Gasol and Bynum, and literally NOBODY else. Bynum gets his in the course of the game. Gasol disappears for no particular reason. Kobe needs to shoot until his elbow falls off. Dance with who brought ya.

  8. keyshawn22 - Feb 12, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Progress is absolutely right. Kobe is a cancer and the biggest ball hog/chucker the NBA has ever seen.

    He was lucky to play with Shaquille and that Perkins blew out his knee in game 6 of the 2010 finals or he would he have 1 ring. Calling him 1a on the 3 peat team is a joke.. he was a distant second to Shaq. Shaq was the finals mvp in all 3 wins. Kobe shot them out of a win vs the pistons in 04. Even when he did win in 10 he shot 6-24 in game 7 and it was fisher and artest who made the big shots. When shaq went to miami they went to the eastern conf finals and then won a title, what did the lakers do? miss the playoffs. and then get run out by the suns with kobe being held scoreless in the 2nd half of the elimination game.

    Clutch players are: Jordan, Reggie Miller and Dwayne Wade.

    Kobe is not clutch, if ALWAYS take the last shot bc there is no way he is passing it he is bound to make some once in a while.

    • cpaulii - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      Funny that Dwade said yesterday that Kobe is the best player that this generation has seem…and you’r talking a player in his 16 season.
      Even funnier is that ESPN stat 16 out of 29 shots made in the last second, for the win shots.. 55%

      But the funniest is people like you that have nothing to compare with…compare Kobe with lebron??
      Lebron will never be Kobe,,, isn’t that asinine to compare a 16 season player with a 8 season player.. a player that has won everything vs a one that hasn’t done anything. just by comparing them at this time speaks volume about Kobe..

      Now go back to youtube and search Kobe vs MJ, and then coma back here and talk your smack again…

    • Off The Backboard - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:42 PM

      In 2000, he was Option #2. But check his numbers from the 2001 playoffs and the 2002 playoffs and PLEASE tell me how 29, 7, 6 (in 2001) and 26, 6, and 4 are not 1A. Really, I’d love to hear it. I watched that entire three peat run, and Kobe was often 1 (not 1A) in certain games, especially against San Antonio in the 2001 WCSF.

      Again, you don’t watch the NBA, you skim through it.

      • Off The Backboard - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:43 PM

        What’s more remarkable is, he’s still averaging similar numbers…10 years later! How can you guys not just marvel at that?? Compare him to guys like VC, Iverson, Ray Allen, Jason Kidd, all players who were posting big numbers in 2001…how many of them produce at the same rate?

  9. isujames - Feb 12, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    It looks like his line probably always looks, 7/28,9/25,8/24,10/28.I bet i was right on the mark with one of those guesses and i didn’t look @ his stats i just took a stab in the dark @ it.

  10. velascochad - Feb 12, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    well, there are on and off games specially when you’re on the road for 6 straight games.

    but at least its a W.

    i didnt remember any articles written about how bad the miami heat is when they almost lost to the worst team in the league “charlotte bobcats”.

    oh and by the way, pls continue to doubt kobe, coz your doubt is his fuel to prove you wrong.


  11. borderline1988 - Feb 12, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    Anyone who watched the 4th quarter knows that Kobe was downright awful…there was a stretch where he missed like 6 straight shots (good ones and bad ones) and turned the ball over a couple of times. Even worse, a number of those poor decisions led directly to Raptor fast breaks. The Raptors do not have the talent to hang with the Lakers, yet Kobe literally giftwrapped them the game in the 4th. If that Kleiza 3pt shot went down with a minute left (it was 90% in the cup before popping out and bouncing off Gray’s hand to give the Lakers the ball back), the Lakers would be history. Instead, Kobe nails 2 shots in the last minute and wins the game lol.

    The worst part about it was that the Raptors were getting killed by Gasol. They simply could not guard him. Yet, Kobe took it on himself to shoot every single possession from about 6 to 2 minutes left in the game, even if he was being double-teamed. As a Raptor fan, I was literally cheering for Bryant to get the ball. The one time when Gasol got it and orchestrated that beautiful high-low feed to Bynum for a dunk (with about 2 minutes to go) – I got really nervous, b/c I figured they’d start feeding the ball to Gasol. Instead they went back to Kobe. Unfortunately the Raptors threw away this game, but I guess it’s understandible. The Lakers are champions – theyb know how to win in tight 4th quarter games.

    • Off The Backboard - Feb 12, 2012 at 9:56 PM

      Did we watch the same game? Gasol started off hot, and then settled for 20 footers. His shooting percentage is pretty bad in this game for a big man, something like 6/14. There were numerous possessions were Kobe would pass Gasol the ball, only to have him fumble it (early 3rd Q) or toss up a 20 footer. If anything, Bynum was the one that the ball should have gone to more.

  12. charlutes - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    I’d say half empty wins this one I think.

  13. gametight78 - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Looks like he walked

  14. losangelasbasketball - Feb 13, 2012 at 7:03 AM

    People hate kobe for shooting 30 shots a night…. They dont hate kobe…. They actually hate phil jackson for perfecting the dominant swingman style of bball.

  15. dspohn55 - Feb 13, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    How does this even pass for journalism? A 12 year old could catch on to your obvious bias towards the Lakers and especially Kobe

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 13, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      Calling Matt a Lakers homer made our day.

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