Around NBA: Kobe Bryant Needs Tiger Blood After Miami Heat Crushes LA Lakers

Buckus ToothnailContributor IIIMarch 11, 2011

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 10:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat posts up Kobe Bryant #24 of  the Los Angeles Lakers  during a game at American Airlines Arena on March 10, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images


Perhaps Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant needed to heed advice from former "Two and a Half Men" sitcom star Charlie Sheen in his recent Guinness World Record-setting Twitter odyssey.

Captivating the world media's attention with guidance blasts of original, manic life mantras, Sheen is American pop culture's unofficial life guru and the country's current definition of "#winner".

Unfortunately that description does not apply to Bryant as #WINNING is exactly what Kobe didn't do tonight. 

"NBA Prediction: The Los Angeles Lakers Will Lose To the Miami Heat on March 10" - Published March 9, 2011

Faced against NBA superstar and two-time defending league MVP, LeBron James, and his powerful Miami Heat team, the same squad that had embarrassed Bryant and his defending champion LA Lakers in an ultra high-profile match-up on Christmas Day last year with a convincing 96-80 blowout victory at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Bryant again squandered an opportunity to redeem himself and his team, and proved again, once and for all, that the Miami Heat, not the Los Angeles Lakers, are the "team to beat" in the NBA.

Ironically, the Heat, who are the most despised team in the NBA after recruiting James along with former Toronto Raptors standout, Chris Bosh, to play with their franchise superstar and former NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade last summer, have been on a tough five game losing streak prior to their win against the Lakers.

That five game slide, which was part of six losses in seven games, was the longest active losing streak in the NBA, shared with the Indiana Pacers, and even longer that the current losing streak owned by LeBron's former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who themselves set the all-time NBA losing streak record this season.

The longest active winning streak in the NBA prior to tonight's game ironically belonged to the Lakers, who had won eight straight games before tonight's loss to the Heat, exactly double the length of the next longest winning streak in the NBA of four games, shared by teams including the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Clippers, incidentally both teams which had beaten the Lakers already in games this season.

The fact that the Lakers were playing their best basketball of the year, and rebounding from their own disappointments this season including a four game losing streak and devastating losses to teams no self-respecting defending champion should ever lose to like the bottom-dwelling Cavaliers, a 19 point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, or a 20 point blow-out loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, makes this defeat to Miami and Chris Bosh, who allegedly was in tears crying in the Heat locker room after a recent loss to the Bulls, even more tough to swallow.

The Lakers had a chance to continue a trend set by other #WINNING teams in the NBA, including the Bulls, the New York Knicks, the Orlando Magic, the San Antonio Spurs and the Portland Trail Blazers, teams with winning records that had all defeated the Heat during their five game losing streak.

The Lakers would have been the sixth team, and could have delivered the season-ending knock-out blow to Miami's confidence and swagger, continuing the recent self-doubting and teary trend of Miami's confusion and lost-in-the-woods mentality, that could have eliminated them as a playoff threat with just 17 games to go in the regular season.

Instead, the Heat's epic win against the Lakers tonight, against all odds, with the whole world doubtful they could pull off this stunning victory (see comments on "NBA Prediction: The Los Angeles Lakers Will Lose To the Miami Heat on March 10"), just gave Miami incredible renewed confidence and swagger that in all likelihood will carry over into the playoffs.

After all, they didn't just win their first game against a .500-plus team in over a month; no, they picked up their first victory against a winning team in over a month against the defending NBA Champions the Los Angeles Lakers.

This loss didn't just help the Miami Heat and propel them over a dangerous, slippery slope slump; this loss also damaged the prospects of the Lakers themselves.

After all, the Miami Heat have now swept the LA Lakers in the regular season.  Out of all the teams considered "elite" in the league that have played Miami, including the Boston Celtics, the Dallas Mavericks, the Bulls and the Spurs, only the Lakers have lost to the Heat, and LA lost every single one of their games to Miami.

On the other hand, the Mavericks and the Bulls swept their season series against the Heat, and the Celtics beat the Heat three times already with one game remaining, and the Spurs lead their series 1-0.

These statistics put the Lakers at the bottom of the pile amongst the "elite" teams of the league, and are especially damaging when looking ahead at the NBA Playoffs.

As if the Lakers are able to achieve their dream scenario during the Western Conference Playoffs which is to survive likely opponents the Mavericks in the Conference Semifinals and the Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder in the Conference Finals, their NBA Finals opponent who stands in their way of Kobe and coach Phil Jackson achieving their second three-peat, Kobe's sixth championship ring tying him with Bulls legend Michael Jordan, and the Lakers' 17th franchise NBA Championship, is likely to be the Miami Heat.

And with the Heat's regular season dominance of the Lakers giving them a serious mental edge, one that may reduce Bryant, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Andrew Bynum and Derek Fisher to locker room cuddles and tears, like those shed by Kobe when the Spurs defeated the Lakers lead by him and Shaquille O'Neal in Game Six of the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals, Bryant may come to regret this one epic loss as when a shot of #tigerblood, otherwise known as self-belief, during the fourth quarter might have won this game for Los Angeles against Miami, and saved the Lakers' entire season.

Responding to the defeat, "Kobe's Miami Workout: Is the Black Mamba Too Dedicated for His Own Good?"

Though this Lakers loss was shocking to most pundits, the game's conclusion was accurately prophesied in, "NBA Prediction: The Los Angeles Lakers Will Lose To the Miami Heat on March 10".

Another predication that came true, "NBA Prediction: The Boston Celtics Will Lose to the Los Angeles Clippers".

As his dismantling of the Lakers shows, "LeBron's Mad And That's Bad News For The Rest Of The NBA".

In a dream scenario, "King James: Should the L.A. Lakers Trade Kobe for the Miami Heat Star?"

With another devastating loss on national TV, "Has Kobe and the Los Angeles Lakers Hit Rock Bottom?"

This loss to the Miami Heat points to one thing, "Laker Disappointment: Is It Inevitable?"

After being exposed tonight by LeBron James, "Is Kobe Bryant Overrated?"

With his scoring and rebounding dominance tonight over the Lakers star forward, "Is C-Bosh, Rather Than Pau Gasol, The Best Big Man In The NBA?"

Being shut down in the critical final possessions, "Is Kobe Bryant, Not LeBron James, The Biggest Quitter in The NBA?"

Tonight's loss highlights, "Why Kobe And The Lakers Would Be Foolish To Chase Jordan's Bulls Record".

With his 13 point, 12 rebound performance, "Is Andrew Bynum The Lakers' Future Franchise Player?

With the Miami Heat's victory tonight, "Why LeBron's 'Decision' Was The Best He Ever Made".

Looking ahead at a possible NBA Finals match-up, "Should Lakers Fans Root for the Miami Heat?"


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