Kobe’s Time: 2008 NBA finals preview
One of the great joys for a sports fan is witnessing an all time great player reach the pinnacle of his greatness all the while winning a championship. Such is the case with Kobe Bryant.
Going into this season we all knew how great Kobe was. However, none of us could predict that in one year he would go from being a top 15 player of all time to being as great as any guard in the history of the sport. This season Kobe has become the consummate team player taking all the right shots, making all the right passes, and taking over games whenever his team needs him to do so. And unlike his only superior MJ, his teammates actually like him! Sometimes in sports the story of a player reaching his pinnacle not only trumps anything else going on in a playoff game/series, it is the most important reason why his team will defeat its opposition.
This in spite of Boston having 3 legit stars and the best big man in the game in Kevin Garnett (Tim Duncan’s play vs the Lakers showed me that Garnett has now usurped that crown from the aforementioned Timmy). Boston’s defense will probably be able to contain Gasol and stifle the Odoms and the Fishers of the world. Garnett will probably embarrass Gasol at times sending some of shots all the way back to Fenway. However, Garnett simply does not make big shots with the game tied or his team trailing late in games and Ray Allen has not been the same player in these playoffs that he has been throughout his borderline Hall of Fame career. The only way Boston wins this series is if Paul Pierce outplays Kobe Bryant. Is this impossible? No. Is this unlikely, Yea. I think this is especially unlikely because I truly believe this is Kobe’s time.
Much like the Sports Deities cursed the 04 Yanks for committing the Sin of Glutton as they added two superstars to an already excellent team, the Sports Gods have shined down and will continue to shine down on Kobe for his selfless play. Plus, it just makes his team better when Kobe is making great dishes to Fisher and Sasha (not even going to try and spell his last name) in 3 point land and a cutting Odom and Gasol in the paint. Unless Pierce outplays Kobe AND the Celtics get a suprising contribution from a role player like Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins or dare I say Glen “Big Baby" Davis, I just don’t see the C’s being able to stay with a team who is stewarded by a Legend at the pinnacle of his career.
The Pick: Lakers in 6