At the end of Tuesday night's hard fought battle, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers walked away with one of the only things that really mattered, a win. It was a two point win in a game that was decided in the final minutes; an ESPN headline that read, "Kobe Best Melo" confused me. Those who watched the game should be confused, as well. Carmelo clearly played the star role, and the numbers to back him up.
Yes, Kobe dropped 40 points, but it was off of a not-so-stellar 13-of-28 shooting with 12 of his points coming from the free throw line. Carmelo, on the other hand, ended the game with 39 points on a superb night of shooting, dropping 14-of-20 of his shots and scoring eith points from the charity stripe. Compare Kobe's 46 percent shooting to that of Melo's 70 percent shooting while each player ended the night with six rebounds, four assist, and one block. You tell me who had a better night.
Whether it was grabbing an offensive board and putting it back up for two or draining four-of-five from three point range, No. 15 did it all and was, without question, the most versatile scorer on the floor.
Now, don't give me wrong, this is not an anti-Kobe article. Kobe is a terrific basketball player and last night will probably turn out to be his worst shooting performance of this series. I expect to see another 40 point game by Bryant and give the fans a show.
One must ask, though, is this Baltimore native's time to shine, or was it just a good game from a talented baller? Has Carmelo finally answered the call and jokes about his playoff experience? Has all the LeBron and Kobe talk awaken a sleeping giant? These are questioned that will be played out for all to see.
One thing’s for sure: that big smile from the 2003 NCAA tournament is back and, for some reason, I think we’re going to see plenty of those in the next couple of weeks.
Even though Melo and company were unable to walk away from the Staples with a win, they made a statement to the viewers and their opponents: buckle your seats, because you are going to be in for one heck of a series.
Who knows? Maybe Carmelo realizes now that he could be lifting that MVP trophy if he really wanted to.
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