Lakers and Kobe Bryant Still Better Off Than Miami and Lebron James Despite Loss

Zach McClellandContributor IIIMarch 11, 2011

Mamba vs. Flash
Mamba vs. FlashMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

First and foremost, I'm a Lakers fan and I'm ready to blow off some steam with some facts and opinions on the Heat—this will be more of a rant than it will be an article. You have been warned.

The Heat pulled off their so called "must-win" game over LA by pulling away late in the fourth. Bosh showed up and led the Heat in scoring and D-Wade closed the fourth quarter better than the best closer in the game (Kobe Bryant) could. Heat win, 94-88. REJOICE IN MIAMI! THE HEAT ARE BACK! BEWARE EASTERN CONFERENCE! THE HEAT ARE BACK ON TRACK!

Yeah, the Heat beat the best team in the league last night. But didn't they just get beaten by the Bulls (twice), Knicks and Orlando? The Heat are 2-10 vs. the Celtics, Magic, Knicks and Bulls. It only takes two losses to get knocked out of the playoffs. Yes, Miami beat the Lakers twice this year, but you don't need to worry about LA if you can't weather the storm in the East.

Anyway, back to the game and another argument I hear out there: "LEBRON IS BETTER THAN KOBE! KOBE CAN'T BEAT LEBRON HEAD TO HEAD!"

Umm....what exactly did LeBron James do last night that made HIM better than Kobe Bryant? Hell, if anything, last night was a battle of Kobe vs. Wade/Bosh. Wade closed the deal, and outplayed Kobe Bryant down in the stretch.

So what in the world did LeBron James do last night that makes it so hard for Kobe to beat him? Kobe didn't lose to LeBron. The Lakers lost to the Heat. If any individual lost to another individual, it was Kobe losing to Wade.

We live in this era of fantasy leagues, where statistics mean everything and win, lose or draw, the stat panel means everything. LeBron averages a triple double a night, and is on pace to shatter a ton of records. So that makes him the best player the league has ever seen, in the eyes of people that love LeBron James.

On the other hand, Kobe Bryant does things that don't end up on a stat sheet, and that makes him a better player. Kobe has the best work ethic the league has ever seen, other than Michael Jordan. He's the best leader in the league. He elevates the play of the guys around him.

Now, the way he does it may upset people (like going to the media, ripping teammates in practice, etc.), but it obviously works. Lastly, that killer instinct cannot be touched. He's the all-time leader in game-winning shots and, as you saw last night, when game is on the line—Kobe wants the ball.

Let me give you this. Kobe Bryant: Arguably the game's best pure scorer in the history of the league. If not the best pure scorer, he's certainly up there. He's a 13-time All-Star with four All-Star Game MVP's to his name. He's an eight-time All-NBA Defensive first team. An eight-time All-NBA first-teamer. He's played in six NBA Finals, has two Finals MVP trophies and has enough championship rings to cover each finger on one hand.

Think about this for a second—if you took the name "Kobe Bryant" out of that, who's career achievements do you think those would belong to? Michael Jordan.

Give the guy some respect at least.

He doesn't get the W, so he stays 90 minutes after the game to work on his jump shot at the opposing team's arena? Where else do you hear that? Better yet, who else does that? Just another thing that just takes him over the top, in my opinion—his incredible work ethic.

The Big Three are most likely out celebrating their meaningless win and the Mamba is working on his jumper at midnight. Unreal. You don't have to like him, but at least give the man his credit for the work he puts in to get better. What baffles me even more, is that Kobe has five rings and nothing to prove, and he's out working on his jump shot right after the game. With no rings through seven years, you'd figure LeBron should be doing the same thing.

That's my opinion on Kobe vs. LeBron.

I will say, as a Laker fan, thank God I don't have to worry about playing these guys again this year. This game meant everything to the Heat and it was just another game on TNT for the Lakers. The Heat bandwagon will rise from the ashes and now the Heat are back on track (not my opinion).

I don't think the Heat will be in the Finals this year. That 2-10 record I posted earlier speaks for itself. You win playoff games with a smart PG, a big man to bang around down in the paint and a pretty good coach to top it all off.

Boston and Chicago fit pretty well. This year isn't Miami's year. You can enjoy this win while you have it, just make sure you remember who's talking at the end of June.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.