Kobe Bryant's A.B.C. Reads "Always Be Closing"

Ahaviah Bessemer@AhavBessCorrespondent IMay 29, 2010

DENVER - MAY 29:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the second half against the Denver Nuggets in Game Six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 29, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

"A-B-C: A-always, B-be, C-closing. Always be closing! Always be closing! You think they came in to get out of the rain? A guy doesn't walk on the lot unless he wants to buy. Sitting out there waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it?"                  — Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross

(a clip that Lakers coach Phil Jackson is reported to show his team before every close-out game.)

At the beginning of the post-season some analysts were questioning Kobe Bryant's ability to keep up his intensity at the ripe of NBA age of 31.

In the words of the normally circumspect Charles Barkley (yes, that was an attempt at sarcasm): "Those days of scoring 30-40 points every night are O-V-E-R."

Thank you, Your Loudness.

Now put down that Five-Buck-Box for a second and go call your mother. She'll set you straight.

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Not that anyone should take him seriously.

Like lottery games, Barkley and his predictions are "for entertainment purposes only." But one month after this "historic prediction," it could be argued that Bryant is having his best post-season to date.

Bryant has topped the 30 point mark in nine of the last 10 games and on his way to doing so, Bryant also passed legendary power forward Karl Malone for fourth in all-time playoff scoring.

In his seven previous (road) close-out games, Bryant's averages are: 32.3 PPG, 5.5 APG, 6.2 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 1.4 BPG.

In this series alone, Bryant's averages are: 33.0 PPG, 9.6 APG, 7.4 RPG, .6 SPG, 1.4 BPG.

Doesn't seem like he's ready for the senior discount quite yet, does it?

Tonight, Kobe and Co. will play their 11th close-out game in their 11th series.

With one more win, the Black Mamba will have earned his ticket back to the promise land for his third straight time.

Over the past three post-seasons (present season included,) the Lakers have played a total of 10 close-out games.

Going into game six of the Western Conference Finals tonight, their record stands at nine-and-one. And the one loss came last year to the surprising Houston Rockets.

Here's another little tidbit: six of those victories were on the road.

But even with as impressive a track record as that, Los Angeles will have their work cut out for them tonight against a determined Phoenix team playing at home.

"I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see, pal, that's who I am. And you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a sh*t. Good father? F**k you — go home and play with your kids!!  You wanna work here? Close!!"  —Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross

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