by Jack Maidment
Do not annoy, provoke, taunt or shout at Kobe Bryant when he is playing on the road.
Apparently people do not learn.
Bryant has been in the League long enough for the entire world to know that any sort of abuse away from home only makes him play even better.
Let us ask the Denver Nuggets.
Returning to the Mile High City the Nuggets held the advantage in the Western Conference Finals after stealing home court in LA. 1-1 and the safety of the building in which they have not been beaten all post season.
Unfortunately for Denver, the Lakers All-Star, future Hall of Famer, kinda likes ruining parties and he marked game 3 with his 3rd plus 40 point outburst of this post season and with it brought tears to a Denver team who were firmly on the charge to the Big Dance.
Bryant said after the game that he had nothing in his legs in the 4th when he stepped to the line for free throws, but that the booing and taunts from the Denver faithful reminded him of what was at stake. Re-focusing a tired mind if you will.
So, here is an idea.
Just shut up.
Why antagonise the closer in The Game when you already know that he will play to a higher level just to spite you.
Shhhhhhh. No, really. Put down the foam fingers and the little bat ball things and just let silence reign. Take away some of his ammunition.
It’s like you are Jack and you just climbed the Beanstalk only to find the Giant asleep.
“Hey! Wake up! You’re supposed to be eating me right now. Come on!”
Just. Be. Quiet.
Regardless of the fact that Kobe came up big, he must have been mighty grateful that some of his team mates turned up last night, unlike the Cleveland Cavaliers the other night who left their Star stranded and alone. 1 V 5? Only LeBron.
Just a quick aside. Conference Finals. How about teams learn to run an inbounds play? Especially in the last minute of the game.
Admittedly LeBron’s rainbow miracle is a little hard to criticise defensively because it was simply an amazing shot from an amazing player. But, you think that the Magic will leave a guy close to the inbounder if their happens to be a second on the clock again?
Unlikely. Two men, both on LeBron.
In the same vein, the Nuggets need to realise that there is this guy who plays for the LA Lakers called Trevor Ariza whose middle name happens to be ‘hustle’.
Twice in 3 games he has stole the ball on an inbounds play in the 4th effectively ending Denver’s hopes.
Read the scouting reporting and quit being lazy when the game is on the line.
Or just do what Chauncey Billups does. Inbound the ball of off Kobe’s back and lay it in yourself. Cheeky.
Perhaps that is the real reason that Kobe went big in Game 3. Either way, just don’t annoy the man.
He is a Giant.