by Jack Maidment
Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony have more in common than successive stellar Westren Conference games (Kobe has set a record for combined points in successive Conference Finals games.)
The physicality of the series coupled with the extensive minutes which their team’s demand of them has reduced both players to I.V. drips.
Kobe’s came after the LA Lakers victory in Game 3 while Carmelo was hooked up at half time of Game 4, a game that the Nuggets would go on to win.
The fact that both players have been on the floor for more than 40 minutes a night has totally depleted what energy reserves they may have had left after the opening two series.
Their tired bodies tell us two things about this Conference Finals match up. Firstly, the teams are incredibly closely matched, with 3 of the 4 games coming down to the final minute. Secondly, both players can only count on one of their team mates for consistent help.
For Kobe, only Pau Gasol has produced any numbers that take some of the strain from Bryant’s shoulders. The fact is he could do more, and he agrees, ‘asking’ for more touches inside instead of watching his team hoist more than thirty 3 pointers in Game 4 despite his productivity.
The Robin to Carmelo’s Batman has been Chauncey Billups, Mr Big Shot and Mr Dependable. Even when he isn’t scoring he is assisting and providing much needed leadership to the Nuggets who still possess the ability to flip out at any moment.
In Game 4, Melo was 1 for 11 at the half. Fortunately the JR Smith who annoys so many people with his posturing and play turned up and led his team in scoring with 24 powering them to the win and an even series.
The rest of the Lakers went missing, especially Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odum, both of whom are as reliable as an ashtray on a motorbike.
I.V. drips in basketball? Proof of one thing.
It is a team game after all.