1.) Kobe can’t shoulder the load
Kobe Bryant just hasn’t gotten the help from his supporting cast that this Laker team so desperately needs to advance to the NBA Finals. Pau Gasol has been consistent, with double-doubles in the last two (2) games, but Kobe and Pau aren’t going to beat this scrappy Nuggets team by themselves. Trevor Ariza looked great Thursday night, with another strong defensive outing (4 stls). He was solid offensively in their 106-103 loss, going 6 of 7 from the field, but he has been too inconsistent on the offensive end and we can’t expect the Cali native’s offensive production to keep trend. Lamar Odom hasn’t been playing bad, but he hasn’t been playing good, either. Mediocrity is not going to beat this talented Denver Nuggets squad. Andrew Bynum continues to be a non-factor, and clearly is not the same player he was prior to his injury. Maybe he should’ve concentrated more on rehabbing instead of running around with playmates, just a suggestion. As a result of the lack of production from his teammates, Kobe Bryant has been more active and is doing more than he is used to. I can’t be the only one who has noticed Kobe’s exhaustion. He’s trying to take on a LeBron James role (shouldering the load), and at 30 years of age, that will take a toll on your body, and it most definitely shows.
2.) LA’s point guard play
Game by game, Derek Fisher continues to lose his poise. Why Jordan Farmar only played 6 minutes Thursday night is beyond me, but it’s hard to question The Zen Master’s motives (unless LA loses this series). Fisher went 1 for 9 from the field in LA’s loss, and finished with more fouls (5) than points (3). Is this really the guy you want taking your last second shot to push the game into OT? I’d rather have Shannon Brown take that shot! Hell, anyone for that matter! D Fish has knocked down some big shots in his career, but when you’re not feeling it, you’re not feeling it. Shannon Brown has played alright, but the three (3) point guards (Fisher, Farmar, Brown) haven’t done much, and clearly have had trouble matching up with Chauncey Billups.
3.) Carmelo Anthony playing to his potential
Is this the same Carmelo Anthony? ‘Melo has been in beast mode this series, accumulating 73 points in 2 games. I wasn’t aware that Anthony was as strong as he is (or how weak Kobe is) until this series. He has been having his way with Kobe Bryant, throwing him around like a ragdoll. In Thursday night’s win, Carmelo grabbed 5 offensive boards (made it look relatively easy) and scored a handful of points with easy put backs. It looks as if team USA’s Gold medal win in Beijing lit a fire under Anthony’s ass. Melo, for once, looks determined to win, and with a skill set like his, there is reason for the Lakeshow to be concerned, very concerned. [Read more...]