If you haven't seen it, here's the video of Kobe Bryant's postgame interview following Friday's win over Golden State in which he tore his left Achilles tendon.
In honor of Shaquille O'Neal Jersey Retirement Day, we bring you the following…
It's a moment seared into the gray matter of every Lakers fan. The lob from Kobe Bryant to Shaquille O'Neal in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals, capping off a huge comeback against Mike Dunleavy's Portland Trailblazers, putting a stranglehold on the game, and fueling L.A.'s first trip to the Finals since the end of Showtime. It is probably the most iconic Shaq/Kobe highlight of their time together. (Not a stretch, given that it's among the most iconic NBA highlights of the last 25 years, really. Which explains this.)
Generally speaking, clips of the play come with Bob Costas on the call for NBC. No disrespect to Costas, but his isn't the voice Lakers fans want to hear when re-living that day. Fortunately, Chick Hearn was there, too, calling the game on the radio, and not surprisingly, he owned the moment. (To follow along, go to the six minute mark of the video below.)
“That's all you do. Run the whole 24 and then take your shot… They'll probably foul you before that… Kobe's down the middle, he's in deep, he throws to Shaq, slam dunk! The Lakers lead by six! The Los Angeles Lakers, with 40 seconds left. Portland can put champagne away and get out the bottled water, because that's all they're going to drink on their way home. They're down 85-79. A perfect pass to Shaq from Kobe…”
There's more, including a great comeback from Chick when Stu Lantz points out O'Neal fouled Steve Smith driving to the hoop moments later, and it's all awesome.
Not to discount the effort required of the Lakers to claw back from a 25-point deficit Wednesday in New Orleans to steal a must-win and continue their playoff charge, but the Hornets certainly provided some help.
Most notably on this play: With the Lakers up two and about 36 seconds remaining, New Orleans completely botched defending L.A. as they inbounded the ball after a timeout. By losing a man? Getting screened off? Tripping and falling?
No, by apparently forgetting which basket they were defending. The Lakers done gone and fooled ‘em. Basically, it’s the hidden ball trick, the Trojan Horse, yelling “Dead bird!” while pointing to the sky to distract someone, and that thing where you point to someone’s chest, say “What’s that?” and when the person looks down you take your finger and bop them in the nose all rolled into one.
Pelican’ts, I’d say.Read More
The Lakers still have work to do getting to the playoffs — inspiring as Wednesday’s come from behind victory over New Orleans may have been (33-9 in the fourth quarter! 20-0 over the last 6:46!) it was in the end an all-too-difficult win they were supposed to get anyway, against a Hornets squad apparently determined to gift wrap the game — but no matter what happens, this last stretch of games has provided a fantastic chapter in the already well-stocked Book of Kobe Bryant.
The line vs. New Orleans was top shelf stuff: 42 points on 14-21 from the floor, 11-14 from the line, 12 assists, seven rebounds, a block, and a jaw jut. 18 points in the fourth quarter, including 7-8 shooting.
He was absolutely unbelievable. Combined with an equally dominant performance on the defensive end in the second half for Dwight Howard and major support off the bench from Jodie Meeks, the Lakers escaped the Bayou with a critical victory. Should Kobe have to work this hard just to get the Lakers into the playoffs? No.
But the upshot for Lakers fans is games like Wednesday’s.
Here is the highlight package. Watch it, then watch it again.Read More
Wednesday was a big night for Steve Nash. He went for 14/4/7 in a badly needed win for the Lakers over Boston at Staples. He also passed Magic Johnson for fourth place on the all-time assists list.
After, he spoke about the victory and the milestone, and also addressed the idea he’s lost a step or three at this point in his career, and simply can’t quite do what we expect of him, and he expects of himself.Read More