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Kobe has day only Kobe could have, caps it with game winner

Mar 31, 2012, 8:11 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant AP

Saturday was vintage Kobe… or at least vintage 2012 Kobe.

He looked tired — as he has a lot lately, which is why we have all watched his shooting percentages drop — and started the game 0-for-15 shooting with zero points through three quarters. Yes, you read that right. Zero points on 15 missed shots.

Then he went 3-6 in the fourth quarter, scored 11 points and did this in the Lakers’ 88-85 victory:

For Lakers fans that is a vintage “don’t shoot that Kobe, no, no no no no…. YES!” moment.

He is no longer the Kobe Bryant from 2003. The athleticism has taken a step back but because he is smart and so fundamentally sound he can still get to his spots on the court and hit his shots. He is still a force.

Well, when he feels right. Right now Mike Brown is running him into the ground — only Dwight Howard has played more minutes than 33-year-old Kobe. He’s played more than Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and everybody else with younger legs.

He won’t admit it, but the minutes are clearly wearing Kobe down. You see it in his shooting percentages.

But Kobe’s unwavering self-confidence is still there — miss 15 shots and he is sure the next one will fall. He is sure there is nobody better suited on the planet to take the hero ball last shot. And that confidence, that belief that there is nobody better in the big moments, has upsides like that video above.

He can shoot you out of a game, or he can win it for you. But he always believes it will be the latter. Which is at the heart of what makes Kobe “Kobe.”

  1. drunkenjunk - Mar 31, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    still the man. Brown’s gotta cut his minutes or it won’t matter what seed they get.

    • addictedzone - Mar 31, 2012 at 9:43 PM

      3 for 21. They should have cut his minutes today and the Lakers would have won by double digits.

    • therealhtj - Apr 1, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      Look fellow Laker fans, other than the most loyal Kobe apologists, you’ve got to admit to yourselves that this Kobe was more or less the one we expected to see this year. The one that shoots us out of as many games as he shoots us in to. The writing’s on the wall and most of you refuse to read it. We don’t have a Kobe comparable to the post-baseball Jordan, we’ve got the Wizards version. AND, he’s got an unmovable contract, a no-trade clause, and a refusal to take a back seat to the more viable options down low in Bynum and Gasol.

      Big minutes or not, he’s on the downside of his career and he’s collecting a paycheck of TWO franchise stars in a new CBA era that’s far more restrictive than the previous one. There’s only one way back to greatness and that’s to cut him loose.

      Sure, he hit a big shot. Again. To bail the team out against one of the worst in the league with a depleted roster. And that’s wonderful. But how far do you think a Kobe that’s been consistently shooting sub-40% and worse is going to carry us in the playoffs? Make all the Kobe/Lebron comparisons in the world, but there isn’t a rational Laker fan that wouldn’t trade on for the other without hesitation today.

      Maybe not this summer, but definitely before the supertax kicks prior to the 2013-14 season, the only option the Lakers will have with a rapidly declining Kobe is to amnesty him. Hopefully he’ll do them the courtesy of “retiring” like Brandon Roy did for Portland to save the team the PR nightmare of having to discard one of their all-time greats. Can he really be too upset collecting another $30mil for staying at home? Sounds like a pretty decent “retirement” gift to me.

      BTW – Dwight and CP3 are gonna be free agents that summer. Just sayin’

      • drunkenjunk - Apr 2, 2012 at 1:33 AM

        Kobe is way better than, Wizards Jordan. Nothing against MJ but in his Wizards days it wasn’t the same. He looked out of shape and had lost a step. Kobe has a lost some too but he’s still better than that.

  2. noahbird - Mar 31, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    You should think about mentioning the team they played, and what not.

    • 24thesho - Mar 31, 2012 at 11:34 PM

      They are all still NBA players.

    • smoothaswilkes - Mar 31, 2012 at 11:57 PM

      doesn’t matter what team they played, and what not. kobe was being kobe. that was the story. it wasn’t a game recap. if you bothered to watch the video, you would have seen it was NOLA.

  3. chargerdillon - Mar 31, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Draining an aging Kobe to beat the Hornets……….

    As a Laker fan im well aware it’s going to be ugly to see a worn down Kobe not pull off a miracle in the playoffs. I live with my team and I know it’s a 1 or 2 and done in the playoffs.

  4. lakerluver - Mar 31, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    The story is not about the team they played, @noahbird, its about what makes Kobe who he is. And the fact that he’s playing way too many minutes.The team they played is irrelevant. If the team had been the Heat,and Kobe had done the same exact thing, the story would’ve still been the same, dunce.

  5. charlutes - Mar 31, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Love or hate Kobe, what a baller. What I love about Kobe is he deeply loves basketball. That guy is the most relentless player ive ever seen, and i cant believe im going to be like everyone else and do this to kobe, but i have to say it…other than Jordan.

  6. steelymcbeam6 - Mar 31, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Jordan > Lebron > Kobe

    • 24thesho - Mar 31, 2012 at 11:27 PM

      Jordan > Kobe > ?

    • smoothaswilkes - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:02 AM

      6 rings > 5 rings > 0 rings

      • dadaboi - Apr 1, 2012 at 4:45 AM

        Oh here with go with the rings “logic” again.

        Fisher (5 rings) > Rondo (1 ring) > Stockton (0 ring).

        Sure, makes perfect sense.

      • dadaboi - Apr 1, 2012 at 4:45 AM

        Oh here with go with the rings “logic” again.

        Fisher (5 rings) > Rondo (1 ring) > Stockton (0 rings).

        Sure, makes perfect sense.

      • loungefly74 - Apr 4, 2012 at 8:34 AM

        @dadaboi – rings count in a big way. your comparison of fish/rondo/stockton is very random. your missing the point.

    • eugenesaxe - Apr 1, 2012 at 1:00 AM

      Common sense/intelligence > you.

  7. lakerluver - Mar 31, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    LBJ would’ve been playing “hot potato” with the ball in the 4th qtr if he was having a game like that. Heck, if he was 17-20 he would’ve still passed the ball at crunch time. Therein lies the difference in him and Kobe. LBJ is afraid to fail.

  8. steelymcbeam6 - Mar 31, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    I hate laker fans…they are the most empty headed fans in sports. A person says Lebron or durant is better than Kobe (which lebron is…just compare their stats…lebron beats kobe in most damn near close to every field) and the only thing a no knowledge hack laker fan can come up with is “count the rings” first of all…it’s a team sport, Kobe is a product of the lakers and Phil Jackson. If Kobe were drafted by the twolves no one would know his name. Second…by the moronic “count the rings” defense that would make Robert horry one of the greatest players ever because he has 5 rings. Also would make bill Russell the greatest of all time because he has more championships than fingers. Stop being ignorant fools laker fans. I know there is a small percentage of you that has some basketball IQ but it’s few and far in between.

    • hoytdadd64 - Mar 31, 2012 at 10:09 PM

      Yes Lebron is better statistically and Lebron is more athletically gifted then, not just Kobe, but the rest of the NBA. But at this point in his career Lebron seems to lack that killer instinct that both Kobe and MJ had and have. And yes there were a lot of other great players that had that instinct in the past but I only mention those two to lead to my next point. Kobe was more then just a product of Phil Jackson, Phil Jackson was more then just the product of MJ and Kobe. Were they better off together? Hell yeah!!! What would they have been with out each other? We will never know. A great player can put up stats with out winning rings and a great coach. But can a great coach win with out having the correct players to run his system? Some coaches have the right players in a great system and still don’t win(Utah). And some role players are blessed to be on great teams and win multiple rings also. But when your name is filling up the record books firmly locking your name into the history of this great game and you can match that with 5 or 6 rings, then you’re truly one of the best and luckiest to have played the game. Will Lebron get there one day? Most likely, but he’s not on that level yet. Maybe the right coaching and system is all he needs. And this is coming from a Laker!!!

      • redstar504 - Apr 1, 2012 at 4:00 AM

        Right on, 100% accurate, on the Lebron/Kobe issue. LeBron is a much more talented player than Kobe, LeBron is more physically gifted, has better numbers, and by far a way better team player than Kobe is. However, at the end of the day LeBron does not have the heart. He shies away from big moments. He looks to get the ball away from himself in big moments. That is the difference in the two. Kobe can do it all by himself LeBron needs someone there for him (he has that in Wade) to take over when the chips are down. When the chips are down for Kobe he forgets everyone else and takes it upon himself, Both Lebron and Kobe are flawed in a sense. That is what makes MJ such a special player. He wouldn’t shy away from the moment but he didn’t hesitate for a second if he saw a teammate with a better shot to get him the ball.

    • drunkenjunk - Mar 31, 2012 at 10:48 PM

      so what if Lebron is more talented and has better stats. If he was in the same situation and went 0 for in the first 3 quarters he wouldn’t of touched the ball in the fourth. Kobe has fight in him, Lebron doesn’t. I’m not a Laker fan, but I find what Kobe does admirable.

      • hoytdadd64 - Apr 1, 2012 at 2:59 AM

        I think Wade had that fight till Lebron got there. I don’t believe that he knows how to shine in the shadow of the Lebron hype machine. In my opinion it’s sad, with the correct role players I always thought Wade could have been the next super star. Not that I think he isn’t one the best in the game right now, I do. But I remember him hitting a game winner jumping up on the scores table and proclaiming to the crowd that “This is my house”. I don’t believe we’ll see that Wade again while he’s on a team with Lebron.

    • 24thesho - Mar 31, 2012 at 11:30 PM

      EEEHHHNNNG!!! Wrong!

    • smoothaswilkes - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:03 AM

      horry > james

    • cosanostra71 - Apr 3, 2012 at 9:13 PM

      Robert Horry has 7 rings.

    • loungefly74 - Apr 4, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      (from hoytdadd64 comment) – “And some role players are blessed to be on great teams and win multiple rings also.”

      do you understand that steelymcbeam6? does that make sense? horry was a role player. did you watch the freakin games? kobe was not a role player but a leader on that that team. read what “hoytdadd64″ said to your lame arguement. for cryin out loud, i feel like im taking crazy pills when i see crap like that steelymcbeam6. by the way…robert horry has 7 rings…ya idiot. (yeah, i said idiot because you placed yourself there with your extremely poor comment).

      • steelymcbeam6 - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:58 PM

        funny how you call my comment lame but have no valid points to back up your own views…youre pathetic loungefly. if youre gonna come at me for my comment at least have a valid arguement instead of mouthing off about a comment you just dont like and crying like a bitch “whhhaaaa steely doesnt have the same views as i do sniff sniff..hes stupid!!” is it possible you hate my comment just because you know its right and you cant take it? usually how it goes with moronic childish ppl like yourself.

      • loungefly74 - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:16 AM

        are you an idiot steelymcbeam6 ? do you understand the english language? what part of my comment did you not get? do you see how i was agreeing with ” hoytdadd64″…and how he pretty much said what needed to be said? you idiot, didnt you see i started off my comment by quoting him initially letting you know i was basing the comment from that?

        i’ve stated my views plenty of times on here. no need to rehash it each time. i thought it was clear i was agreeing with “hoytdadd64″? but now i realize you are too stupid to know that.

        well…59 thumbs down…dude, that should tell ya something. and dont say its all from Laker fans. what you say it complete jibberish.

        no…i’m happy we have different opinions. i’m glad an idiot like you doesn’t root for my team. say all the dumb crap you want but just know its all stupid because…youre an idiot. i’ll gladly take criticsms but when its garbage like what you say, i treat it like garbage.

  9. tampajoey - Mar 31, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Lebron only dreams of being able to shoot as good as Kobe and make clutch shots in the 4th.

  10. max20characters - Mar 31, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    I think I’d shoot better than 0-15 through 3 quarters against the Hornets. If the Lakers were contenders they’d wouldn’t beat the second worst team in the league with only a couple seconds left.

  11. lakerluver - Mar 31, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    @steelymcbeam6, you’re a blooming fool! Kevin Garnett played for the T-wolves and every basketball fan in the world knew who he was. And Kevin Love isn’t exactly unknown. But you mean to tell me Kobe would be a nobody if he had gone to Minny?!! That statement alone tells me everything I need to know about your b-ball intelligence. Players make the system not the other way around. IMO Phil Jackson is the greatest NBA coach ever but lets see him in Charlotte so we can see how the Triangle would work there with those scrubs.

  12. tropboi11 - Mar 31, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    Being the 2nd best is still good and Lebron will start collecting his rings this year

    • smoothaswilkes - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:09 AM

      2nd best what?

      if it’s best player ever, it’s a little premature.
      if it’s this season, okay.

      “collecting”? again, a little premature.
      will he make it to the finals for a third time and win? maybe.

    • eugenesaxe - Apr 1, 2012 at 1:04 AM

      That’s what they said last year, how’d that turn out?

  13. eagles512 - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Wish we could see this on the app

  14. zxrated - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    “Heading into this game, Bryant had shot 50 percent from the field only once in his past 10 games, and only three times in the entire month. (Truth be told, February was pretty rough, too.)” –Andy Kamenetzky

    Last year everybody blamed Gasol for our poor playoff showing. Gasol logged the most minutes on the team in the regular season that year and his numbers were down in the playoffs. Phil rested Kobe all season but his numbers were down in the playoffs also. Kobe’s normal playoff output 29 pts a game, 2011 playoffs 22pts a game.

    In the 2010 Finals, Fisher saved us in game three when Kobe was off. Gasol dominated KG, Perkins and Sheed with an injured Bynum. Artest saved us in game seven when Kobe was having an off shooting night again.

    Fisher can and has done what Kobe did today. Damn it would be nice to have that option coming off our bench right now.

    Last year everybody blamed Gasol for our poor playoff showing. Gasol logged the most minutes on the team in the regular season that year and his numbers were down in the playoffs. Phil rested Kobe all season but his numbers were down in the playoffs also. Kobe’s normal playoff output 29 pts a game, 2011 playoffs 22pts a game.

    In the 2010 Finals, Fisher saved us in game three when Kobe was off. Gasol dominated KG, Perkins and Sheed with an injured Bynum. Artest saved us in game seven when Kobe was having an off shooting night again.

    Removing all those familar faces is wearing on Kobe more then he’ll admit. Remember he has no rings without Phil or Fish. LO was his fun loving brother; don’t be fooled team chemistry is the main missing ingredient in this locker room.

    Me against the world seems to be his stance.

    • zxrated - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:46 AM

      UGH! No edit or chance to delete and repost writing errors

  15. zxrated - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    Reblogged this on zxrated.

  16. lakerryan - Apr 1, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    You people are morons. Any team any night can beat anyone. They are all pros. It’s the regular season. Stop over reacting and acting like this is finals game 1. And when it comes to lebron.. He’s the most athletically gifted player In history. He’s a forward. To compare stats to mj and Kobe is ridiculous. Lebron of course is going to have more assists and rebounds on his team because that’s what they rely on him for. Kobe has 2 7 footers and a pg. He doesn’t need to rebound or pass but he still gets 5 and 5 every game. Lebron doesnt have the mental attitude mj and Kobe had. He cares too much about being popular and liked. Kobe couldnt careless what you or I say. He just wants to win

    • loungefly74 - Apr 4, 2012 at 8:49 AM

      thank you lakerryan!

      jezuz! i feel like im in the twilight zone with some of these absurd comments.

  17. slumdog66 - Apr 1, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    Horsey has 7 rings. So according to later logic, he’s better than Jordan. Makes sense.

  18. ishudbgm - Apr 1, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    Maybe its just me but didn’t Kobe ride Shaq’s back for his first three rings??? Did Kobe get Finals MVP in any of those first 3??? Seems like everybody forgets about the MAJORITY of the work that Shaq did……just saying, wonder how the convo would be different if a young and often silly Kobe didn’t have Shaq to fall on and accidentally stumble on to his first 3 rings. Kobe didn’t win his 4th until once again he had the best big man in the game at the time in Pau Gasol. Long story short…..over rated.

    Someone please tell him to stop wearing a size 5x jersey, maybe he is tired from lugging around that jersey dress.

    • hoytdadd64 - Apr 1, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      It’s just you!! How many rings did Shaq win on his own? Zero!! How many did he win with out Kobe? 1, and he had Wade beside him on a team Pat Riley was coaching.

    • mikeewright7 - Apr 1, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      LMAo at size 5x jersey

  19. ranoversquarells - Apr 1, 2012 at 3:50 AM

    I detest Kobe the person …

    I hate Kobe the Laker ..

    I like Kobe the Player …

    I love Kobe the second best player since Jordan …

  20. omniusprime - Apr 1, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Clueless Mike Brown is wasting Kobe in the regular season because Mike is no offensive genius. It was really stupid to have Kobe shoot so much when he was having such a bad shooting game. A real shame that the Lakers went away from the very successful shooting in the paint very early in the game. Clueless Brown needs to have the team concentrate more on dumping the ball into Bynum and Gasol in the paint for more easy scores and to get the other team’s big men in foul trouble. I don’t like Mike and can only hope that the Lakers will dump this piece of coaching garbage after the season is over and find a real NBA coach. Kobe won’t last 5 more seasons at the rate he’s playing now.

    • md23rewlz - Apr 1, 2012 at 5:07 PM

      Yeah, Mike Brown telling Kobe not to shoot would go over great. Mike Brown didn’t “have Kobe shoot so much.” Kobe “had Kobe shoot so much.”

  21. schaffershokai - Apr 1, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    I wonder if Kobe likes to do this in his spare time: http://youtu.be/fXrrDsiSzKA

  22. bobthis - Apr 1, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    The three pointer was just Kobe being Kobe.

  23. bobthis - Apr 1, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    Mike Brown will never be the answer for the Lakers. He’s too short sighted.

  24. steelymcbeam6 - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Lakerluver….I think you’re taking my comment a little no literally. Of Kobe were drafted by the twolves do you really think he would be as popular of a player as he is? Of course not! Kevin love is a great player but no one outside of minny could care less about him, but of he played for the lakers had five rings and Kobe were in minny winning 25 games a year you would be on here talking about how fucking great love is and telling ppl to “count the rings”

    • loungefly74 - Apr 4, 2012 at 8:58 AM

      steelymcbeam6…your argument is lame. stop with this “what if” scenario. actually, im just going to stop there. normally, im very respectful to everyone’s opinion but for whatever reason…i cant with you…your paradigm on basketball is distorted….and there will never be any reasoning with you.

  25. mrlitl - Apr 1, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    @steelymcbeam6
    You trippin. LeBron is not better. Get real. He’s tissue paper soft. And had to team up to get his 7 rings.
    Which for the record is how many Horry has. Not 5.

    • steelymcbeam6 - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      so my comment is “lame”…but yet you cant dispute it? becuase you cant! cant argue with the truth

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