Let’s be clear about something. The Los Angeles Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs.
Kobe will be in the spotlight getting all of the credit and hype, but truth is, he was just one part of the equation.
Sasha Vujacic was just as important as Kobe in last night’s fourth quarter. Luke Walton was just as important as Kobe.
I had some idiot next to me say, “Kobe went off in fourth quarter and buried the Spurs.”
So I went and watched the fourth quarter.
-Walton three to make it 70-68 Lakers.
-Steal by Farmar and layup to make it 72-68.
-Layup by Kobe to make it 74-68
-Kobe jumper to make it 76-68
-Vujacic three to make it 79-72
-Gasol slam dunk to make it 81-74
-Odom layup to make it 83-76
-Kobe jumper to make it 85-81
-Kobe jumper to make it 87-82
-Kobe layup to make it 89-82
-Kobe free throws to make it 91-84
-Vujacic free throws to make it 93-84
-Gasol free throws to make it 95-84
-Kobe free throws to make it 97-87
Ok… you see the log. Kobe scored 17 in the fourth quarter. But only four of those points were big. The threes by Vujacic and Walton, and Odom’s layup, were HUGE.
The real story in the fourth quarter last night wasn’t Kobe Bryant AT ALL. It was Tim Duncan’s disappearance act. Kobe took and missed so many shots in situations where he could have put the game away, but the Spurs failed to capitalize.
Go watch that fourth quarter again. Then go see how the news is reported. I’m sure Kobe will get most of the credit.
But Farmar, Vujacic, Walton, Odom and Gasol all played HUGE in that quarter. And Duncan was garbage.
I, sadly, missed the game, but the thing that really stood out to me in the box score wasn’t Kobe’s 39, but Pau’s 9 offensive rebounds. The Spurs shot better from the floor and from 3, but the big difference was LA got 11 more shots. Credit Gasol for that.
Funny how that works. The best defensive rebounding team in the regular season (the Spurs led the league with a 77% DREB%) against one of the league’s worse offensive rebounding teams (LA clocked in at 19th in OREB%), and the game is decided by LA’s extra opportunities. Just goes to show you, there’s only so much you can predict in this league.