So it was less than two weeks ago that I was blogging about how Kobe had just ripped the Mavs a new one. Last night in LA, he utterly destroyed them. Blowing up huge is an understatement. Through 3 quarters, Kobe Bryant outscored the whole Dallas Mavericks team, 62-61. Not often do coaches care to acknowledge individual accomplishments in team sports, let alone do it during the game, but at the time out before the 4th qtr Phil Jackson wrote on the white board during the Laker team huddle 'Bryant 62, Mavs 61'. It was that spectacular to watch.
Before the game, Coach Avery Johnson stated that the Mavs would 'use the whole team to defend him' based on his 43 point output 10 days ago in Dallas. Well it was quite apparent that no one on the Mavs could even get close enough to Kobe to smell his cologne. He torched everyone that tried to guard him. Sixty-two points in 33 minutes. Not a bad nights work. If only the Mavs could have kept themselves in the game, Kobe might have made even more history by playing in the 4th qtr. To not play Kobe up by 33 points was really a no win situation for Phil Jackson. He sits him and everyone says he should have played him to see what might have been, Kobe was only 9 points from setting the all time Lakers scoring record. And quite possibly, he could have hit 80 points, which only has been done once, by Wilt Chamberlain. If he had played Kobe with the big lead, he would have been second-guessed for sure for putting him at risk and letting him go for personal records. Hey, Kobe didn't seem to mind so what’s the big deal?
One thing is for sure, the Mavs, who don’t play much defense to begin with, have no idea how to stop Kobe Bryant. He's scored 105 points in the last two games against the Mavs while sitting out a whole quarter. Many teams have had trouble stopping Kobe, he's one of the best players in the league. He may be the best player in the league. If he can carry this Lakers team into the playoffs, it will take an MVP type performance from Kobe. Maybe the Lakers can request to play the Mavs every other night? And for the Mavs to get anyone to seriously consider that they are a threat to win the West, they better learn to play some D.