Kobe Bryant, Lakers Send Message In Houston

Tommy TurreyContributor IMarch 12, 2009

As Michael Buffer says, "Lets Get Ready to Rumble!" But I'm guessing that he never intended it to be used for a basketball game on a Wednesday night in Houston, as the Rockets battled the Lakers in a Western Conference showdown.


Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest had a vintage playground trash-talking contest during the Lakers 102-96 victory that reminded me of Jordan vs. Dumars from back in the day.


These guys were really going at it last night, and it made an already good game that much better with all the grabbing, pushing, shoving, and smack-talking. If Artest wanted to irritate the "Mamba," then he did a fine job, as Kobe scored 18 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter when it mattered most.


Ron Artest usually checks Bryant better than anyone in the league, and it looked like that might happen again, especially early in the game as Kobe was clearly frustrated. 


Artest got a little too confident (if that's possible) and started talking like Kobe wasn't going to score on his floor. That's all the motivation that last season's MVP would need to spark his team to a big road win without Lamar Odom. 


Odom was serving his one-game suspension from stepping off of the bench and onto the court during the altercation against Portland Monday night as Ariza fouled Rudy Fernandez.


Beware everyone, because Kobe Bryant is bringing a certain intensity this year like no other and he wants another ring. 


He is holding his teammates more accountable, he is striving for perfection, and he is demanding that when the team wins, it better be a quality win. 


Kobe made it very clear that he was not satisfied with last Friday's victory against the Timberwolves, when the Lakers gave up 31 points in the fourth quarter but still won 110-90.