Give Me Kobe and LeBron in the Finals

John Boller@jboll0327Correspondent IMay 20, 2009

PHOENIX - FEBRUARY 15:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Western Conference walks across the court in front of LeBron James #23 of the Eastern Conference during the 58th NBA All-Star Game, part of 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend at US Airways Center on February 15, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  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 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Game one of the NBA Western Conference Finals is in the books.

The Los Angeles Lakers overcame an early 13-point deficit after the first quarter, and rallied back at home against the Denver Nuggets in a thrilling 105-103 victory Tuesday night.

The Lakers only got the win because of the performance from their superstar, Kobe Bryant. Bryant finished with a game-high 40 points. He shot 13-of-28 from the field, and a near perfect 12-of-13 from the charity stripe.

Bryant had 18 of his game-high 40 in the fourth quarter. He scored 15 in the final 6:48, scoring seven straight points for the Lakers at one point. Bryant also went a perfect 9-of-9 from the foul line in the fourth, making six in the final 30-seconds to clinch the win.

Bryant just barely out-dueled his former Olympic teammate, Carmelo Anthony. Anthony finished with 39 points on 14-of-20 shooting from the field. Anthony also knocked down four 3-pointers, but in the end, it was Bryant who delivered a victory.

But, what really had me grinning from ear-to-ear after that game was thinking about what LeBron James will do in his debut in the Eastern Conference Finals opener tomorrow night.

Remember back in the beginning of February, Kobe and LeBron each had their made a visit to Madison Square Garden.

Just like tonight, Bryant was the opening act. He dropped 61 points on the Knicks, setting the record for the current Madison Square Garden. Just two days after Bryant’s 61, James only got 52 points, but he also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out 11 assists.

LeBron became only the second person to record more than one 50-point performance at the current MSG. Michael Jordan did it first.

This is why I pray at night for a Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Finals match. The two best players going head-to-head for the title. It’s like Magic vs. Bird, or Jordan vs. Malone. Every game would set the building and television screens on fire.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.