Five lessons from Lakers-Celtics
BOSTON -- These are the moments he lives for,
Bryant wasn't feeling in rhythm when the ball came to him, 27 seconds left and the Lakers trailing by one. His ankle was bothering him ("he didn't have good lift all game," said Jackson) and the fractured right index finger is perpetually sore. He had missed five of his six shot attempts in the fourth quarter, with the Celtics defense bombarding him with a variety of different looks.
This spot on the floor, a hair above the foul line, had not been particularly kind to Bryant, either. Three possessions earlier, Bryant had back-rimmed a 13-footer. On the next possession, he bounced one off the iron from a few feet away.
Doubt, however, never crept in. It never does with Bryant. Clutch players want the ball whether they have made one shot or 100. They rejoice when a teammate makes a game winning play but they privately lament that they did not have the same opportunity. And Bryant is the very definition of clutch. In the Lakers final huddle, Bryant told Jackson that if he got the same look again, he would make it.
"I didn't say give me one more chance. I said give me the damn ball," Bryant said. "I never really give him much of a choice."
"It was a great shot," said Jackson.
Great shots are what Kobe has become known for in his 14-year career. Not much learned there. But there were a few things to be gleaned from the Lakers stunning victory in Boston:
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Remember how Boston bullied the Lakers in the '08 Finals? Back then, the Celtics used their superior strength to complement their skill. This time around, that muscle is being used to mask inferior talent. When
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