Just when you think nothing Kobe does could surprise you, he goes and has a series like this.
Kobe Bryant just had arguably his best playoff series in years.
And don't even start throwing stats at me, though his stats are good, because what Kobe has done is transform before our very eyes into the teammate we all hoped he could become.
Only those who truly watched the games could see what I mean.
Kobe was very smart about his shots this series, something I never thought I'd be saying about a man who is notorious for playing hero ball.
And while he did play hero ball, it was always at the right time, when nobody else on the team was stepping up and making plays.
But more importantly than that, I was shocked by just how good Kobe played team ball.
Metta World Peace and Steve Blake can attribute most of their offensive success in Game 7 directly to Kobe Bryant, who repeatedly drew double-teams and trusted his teammates to make the Nuggets pay for it.
He did an amazing job moving without the ball to get good looks. He was a good facilitator throughout most of the series, and an amazing one in Game 7.
In fact, Game 7 was without a doubt Kobe's most complete effort of the year.
And when Mike Brown smartened up and put Kobe on Ty Lawson in the fourth quarter of Game 7, the killer point guard completely vanished. I knew Kobe was still a capable defender, but I didn't realize he was still an elite on-ball defender.
What does all this mean for his matchup with the Thunder?
Well, he will be matched up with a poor man's Aaron Afflalo next series in Thabo Sefolosha, another long, lanky perimeter defender with a worse offensive game than Afflalo.
Kobe must continue his unselfishness on the offensive side of the court, controlling the pace of the game with his passing and timely scoring.
On defense, Kobe will need to check Russell Westbrook for 10-15 minutes a game, as he has routinely done in games against Oklahoma City.
Kobe has shown incredible growth as a teammate this series. He must build on that for the Lakers to upset the Thunder.