Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James: What Christmas Day Game Said About Each Player
Kobe Bryant was presented with his second-straight Christmas Day loss from LeBron James. Last year it was the Lakers eating a 15-point defeat at the hands of Cleveland. This year LeBron's Heat one-upped that effort with a 16-point victory.
Historically, Christmas games haven't had an impact on the outcome of the Lakers' season. Bryant has had some lousy games like 2006's 4-for-17 shooting night against Miami, and he's had some impressive ones like a 38-point showing against Phoenix the following year.
For Kobe Bryant it's just one game in the middle of the season. He almost seems to depress the excitement of the game, and the Lakers got into an early hole they weren't willing to fight out of.
Postgame Bryant expressed, "It's like these games mean more to our opponents than they do to us."
Maybe LeBron James isn't as jaded, but the Christmas game seems to mean more to him. The reigning MVP has won four straight Christmas games and his only loss was in an overtime game his rookie season against Orlando.
We know the Lakers go as Kobe goes. Despite what preseason predictions suggested, the Heat are LeBron James' team.
Posting his third triple-double of the season, James is Miami's offense. His points, rebounds and assists don't change much between wins and losses, but he shoots roughly 1,000 basis points better in wins. It's that efficiency that sucks in the defense and opens the floor for Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the supporting cast.
James' 57 percent field goal percentage was out-shined by hitting five of six threes. It was the first time all year James has hit more than three threes.
The Heat have been playing very confident basketball since losing to Dallas on November 27th. Saturday's contest wasn't meant to be a statement to anyone but the Heat according to James.
The team had struggled with elite teams this season and a decisive win on the road is the confidence boost it needs rolling into 2011.
L.A. has to travel into San Antonio and New Orleans riding a two-game losing streak. They won't be easy games, but Kobe needs to make sure his team asserts its dominance against Western foes.
If he needs some examples of how to do that, all he has to do is pop in the Miami tape.
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