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The LAkers Story
Well, it’s official. Kobe is the only player in history besides Wilt Chamberlain to play four straight 50+ games. In Friday night’s game, Kobe scored exactly 50 points, carrying his team to a 111-105 win over the New Orleans Hornets.
All eyes were watching, tallying each point he made. And Kobe did actually attempt to be humble: In a pre-game interview, he graciously told John Ireland that one of the best parts about being compared to Elgin Baylor and Wilt is that it draws attention to the efforts of those great players and reminds the public of how great they were. (Awww…)
Kobe’s recent performances really bring up the MVP award again. The MVP (Most Valuable Player) award is supposed to be given to the best player in the league for any given year. Traditionally, it is almost always given to a player on a team with a top record. Consequently, the race to the award this year is considered to be between the leaders of this year’s two best teams: Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks.
But I think Kobe’s performance really begs the question as to whether this tradition should continue. Both Nash and Nowitzki have better teams behind them. Without Kobe, it is doubtful the Lakers would have even made the playoffs. He is truly the driving force on his team. Kobe leads the league in scoring, and contrary to popular belief, he has matured into a fairly decent ball-sharer, (though not as mighty as Nash in the assists department). But unlike Nash, Kobe is also a good defensive player, which should be an essential factor when considering the MVP.
Unfortunately, the Lakers just aren't good enough this year for him to be seriously considered. And I predict the Lakers won't be able to sustain this winning streak. In Friday night's game, they still showed some of their most significant problems, including major collapses on defense, too many turnovers and a baffling inability to deal with fast breaks defensively. And unless Kobe can keep up his superhero scoring, something's gotta give.
Still, it is just so much fun to watch Kobe Bryant play basketball. His tenacity and competitiveness are what it's all about.
AP photo by Alex Brandon