Criticism surrounds backup point guard, Steve Blake, who took the final shot and missed at the end of Game 2 in the Lakers vs. Thunder series. It was a fitting end to a Los Angeles meltdown in the closing minutes of the game.
In the final two minutes of the game, Kobe Bryant misses two shots and turned the ball over. He struggled shooting all night long—even with 20 points, he finished 9-25 (missing all six three-point attempts) shooting. The Lakers were awful from the perimeter, Heat-esque if you will, and went 2-15 before Blake’s final shot. Blake was one of the people that made a three-point shot. The other was Metta World Peace, who couldn’t even find the rim in the fourth quarter.
With six seconds left (after Bryant looked completely out of sorts before the Thunder committed their one foul to give), the ball was inbounded to Blake by World Peace. Blake shot a wide-open three-pointer that bounced off the rim, essentially ending the game in a 77-75 heart-breaker that could finish off the hopes of another championship for Bryant and the Lakers.
Of course, everybody was shaking their heads along with Kobe. No one can believe that Blake took that shot. There's been talk all over radio and Twitter that people can’t believe he took a shot like that when everyone failed on the perimeter. There are also complaints that the Lakers need to live and die with their superstar and suggestions that Blake has shipped himself out during the offseason for not giving Bryant the rock.
Folks, let’s take it easy. We don’t know why Bryant was shaking his head after the shot. Could it be frustration from his night and his team blowing a seven-point lead with 2:08 left in the game? And it’s not like Blake was just shooting a wild shot. He went 1-4 from the perimeter previously—it was a wide-open shot, and he could have made it.
For those people killing him, if Blake made that shot, realize that he would have been heralded as a player that’s stepped up recently and would have been remembered in the same limelight as a Robert Horry who has so many signature shots in playoff games. But since he missed, Blake will be blamed for the loss.
Not the turnovers, not Bryant’s poor performance in the final quarter, not the coaching, not being outscored 24-11 by the Thunder bench, not the key turnovers at the end of the quarter.
Steve Blake. Because he’s easy to point the finger at.