The 80s Are Hot Again

Kurt —  January 24, 2006

Update: Want to see all of Kobe’s 81 points in just three minutes? Well, it’s all right here (thanks to Henry at True Hoop for finding this).

Well Bill “Sports Guy” Simmons is even happy now. He still misses the point at times (read down a few paragraphs) but he feels vindicated. That’s good, as a professional writer, I’m sure his self-esteem could use the occasional boost.

I think we’re all still stunned and amazed at the 81 — in Vegas, the city where football (well, really football betting) is king, Kobe and his 81 were the story on top of the sports page Monday morning. I’m not sure what I can say that would add to all that has been said, but I’ll point you to (and comment on) what other people have been saying.

I think this may be the biggest thing — Kobe’s 81 got the most egotistical and hardest to tolerate newspaper columnist in LA (and there is a heated competition for the title) to admit he was wrong.

Great breakdown
, as you would expect, over at Hoopsanalyst.

If you want to own the 81 points Kobe scored — not just the video of the game, the actual points (in liquid form) — here is where you can bid for them.

If you have ESPN Insider, check out the John Hollinger piece comparing Kobe’s 81 to Wilt’s 100 — he’s thinks Kobe’s is more impressive. I’m not going to give away a bunch of stuff they want you to pay to see, but I will point out this: Hollinger estimates there were about 46 more possessions in the Wilt game than the Laker game the other night, figure Kobe’s points using the same number of possessions Wilt had and Kobe goes for 118.

Phil Jackson said in the Daily News, “To be honest with you, that’s not exactly the way you want to have a team win a game. But when you have to win a game, it’s great to be able to have that weapon to do it with.” He’s right, the Lakers will need better play out of the rest of the team if they are going to make the playoffs. But it sure is fun to watch.

Back to Simmons for a second, he spends a paragraph talking about how Kobe’s ball hogging must be driving Lamar Odom nuts. Two quick thoughts: 1) as has been shown before, Lamar Odom is playing better when Kobe is on the floor; 2) Lamar gets plenty of chances every game to make himself a key part of the offense, he only takes advantage of them about every other game.

Really though, I think the guys at yaysports.com said it best.

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If you were the coach of Golden State, New York, Indiana or one of the other teams coming up on the Laker schedule, wouldn’t you be working on a defense that would strive to keep the ball out of Kobe’s hands and double him the second the ball swings to his side of the court?

The theory of “let Kobe have his and stop everyone else” works only if you have a defender who can at least make Kobe work for his points and slow him a little. Detroit has that, the Raptors did not. Sure, all the Raptors said after the game they tried to stop Kobe, but let’s be honest, they are not the NBA’s most athletic or talented team, and combine that with Kobe shooting 74% (true shooting percentage) there’s no way you’re going to stop him completely.

Other teams know they need to slow him down, how long is it before that is the first, second and third goal of the opponents — “Don’t let Kobe beat you, force Lamar to do it.” Can he? Can he night in and night out? What about Smush, Mihm and the rest of the Kobettes?

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One off topic Vegas note. Let’s say you’re not really a musical theater guy. Let’s say you’re in Vegas and you want to take your wife/girlfriend/hooker you want to impress to a show one night, but you’re dreading it. Allow me make a suggestion — Avenue Q, playing at the Wynn. Fair warning, tickets are not cheap by anyone but Bill Gates’ standards. But if your significant other (or significant other for the night) wants an evening of culture, just tell her this won the Tony for best musical a couple years ago. It did. But trust me, this is not like the versions of Carousel or South Pacific you had to sit through in high school. This has some songs you can relate to.


Kurt

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